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THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE 




Mounted Police Constable 
Bombay City 






THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE 



A HISTORICAL SKETCH 

1672-1916 



ST Mf EDWARDES, c.s.i., c.v.o., 

formerly of the Indian Civil Service arid sometime 
Commissioner of Policey Bombay 




HUMPHREY MIIiFORD 

OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS 

LONDON BOMBAY CALCUTTA MADRAS 

1923 



fmm mniM 



PREFACE 

I have been prompted to prepare this brief record 
of the past history and growth of the Bombay Police 
Force by the knowledge that, except for a few paragraphs 
in Volume II of the Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island, 
no connected account exists of the police administration 
of the City. Considering how closely interwoven with 
the daily life of the mass of the population the work of 
the Force has always been, and how large a contribution 
to the welfare and progress of the City has been made 
by successive Commissioners of Police, it seems well 
to place permanently on record in an accessible form 
the more important facts connected with the early 
arrangements for watch and ward and crime-prevention, 
and to describe the manner in which the Heads of the 
Force carried out the heavy responsibilities assigned 
to them. 

The yeari9i6 is a convenient date for the conclusion 
of this historical sketch ; for in September of that year 
commenced the violent agitation for Home Rule which 
under varying names and varying leadership, and 
despite concessions and political reforms, kept India in 
a state of unrest during the following five or six years. 

Other considerations also suggest that the narrative 
may close most fitly in the year preceding the memorable 
pronouncement in Parliament, which ushered in the 
recent constitutional reforms. No one can foretell what 
changes may hereafter take place in the character and 
constitution of the City Police Force; but it is 
improbable that the Force can remain unaffected by the 
altered character of the general administration. Ere old 
conditions and old landmarks disappear, it seems to me 
worth while to compile a succinct history of the Force, 
as it existed before the era of " democratic " reform. 



vi PREFACE 

I am indebted to the present Acting Commissioner 
of Police for the photographs of the portraits hanging 
in the Head Police Office and of the types of 
constabulary ; to the Record-Keeper at the India Office 
for giving me access to various police reports and 
official papers dating from 1859 to 1916 ; and to Mr. 
Sivaram K. Joshi, 1st clerk in the Commissioner's office, 
who spent much of his leisure time in making inquiries 
and framing answers to various queries which the 
Bombay Government kindly forwarded at my request to 
the Head Police Office. 

S. M. EDWARDES 

London* 1 923 



CONTENTS 

Page 

I The Bhandari Militia, 1672-1800 I 

n The Rise of the Magistracy, 1800-1855 ... 20 

III Mr. Charles Forjett, 1855-1863 39 

IV Sir Frank Souter Kt., C. S. I., 1864-1888 ... 54 
V Lieut-Colonel W. H. Wilson, I888-1893 ... 79 

VI Mr. R. H. Vincent, C.I. E., 1893-1898 ... 90 

VII Mr. Hartley Kennedy, C. S. I., 1899-1901 ... 107 

VIII Mr. H. G. Cell, M. V. O., 1902-1909 120 

IX Mr. S. M. Edwardes, C. S. I., C. V. O., 1909-16 148 



vii 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



Mounted Police Constable 
Armed Police Constable 
Police Constable 
Sir Frank S outer 
Armed Police Jamadar 
Lieut-Col. W. H. Wilson 
Mr. R. H. Vincent 
Khan Bahadur Sheikh 

Sheikh Imam 

Mr. Hartley Kennedy ... 

Mr. H. G. Cell 

Rao Sahib Daji Gangaji Rane 
Mr. S. M. Edwardes 







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viii 



THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE 

A HISTORICAL SKETCH 

1672-1916 



CHAPTER I 

THE Bhandari Militia 
1672-1800 



A perusal of the official records of the early period 
of British rule in Bombay indicates that the credit of first 
establishing a force for the prevention of crime and the 
protection of the inhabitants belongs to Gerald Aungier, 
who was appointed Governor of the Island in 1669 and 
filled that office with conspicuous ability until his death 
at Surat in 1677. Amidst the heavy duties which devolved 
upon him as President of Surat and Governor of the 
Company's recently acquired Island,^ and at a time when 
the Dutch, the Portuguese, the Mogul, the Sidi and the 
Marathas offered jointly and severally a serious menace 
to the Company's trade and possessions, Aungier found 
leisure to organize a rude militia under the command 
of SuhehdarSj who were posted at Mahim, Sewri, Sion 
and other chief points of the Island.^ This force was 
intended primarily for military protection, as a supple- 
ment to the regular garrison. That it was also employed 
on duties which would now be performed by the civil 
police, is clear from a letter of December 15, 1673, from 
Aungier and his council to the Court of Directors, in 
which the chief features of the Island and its adminis- 
trative arrangements are described in considerable 

1. Charles II transferred Bombay to the E. I. Company in 1668, 

2. Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island, VoL II, 238. 



2 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

detail.^ After mentioning the strength of the forces at 
Bombay and their distribution afloat and ashore, the 
letter proceeds ; — 

"There are also three companies of militia, one at 
Bombay, one at Mahim, and one at Mazagon, 
consisting of Portuguese black Christians. More 
confidence can be placed in the Moors, Bandareens 
and Gentus than in them, because the latter are 
more courageous and show affection and goodwill 
to the English Government. These companies are 
exercised once a month at least, and serve as 
night-watches against surprise and robbery" 

A little while prior to Aungier^s death, when John 
Petit was serving under him as Deputy Governor of 
Bombay, this militia numbered from 500 to 600, all of 
whom were landholders of Bombay. Service in the 
militia was in fact compulsory on all owners of land, 
except "the Braminys (Brahmans) andBannians (Banias)," 
who were allowed exemption on a money payment.^ 
The majority of the rank and file were Portuguese 
Eurasians ( " black Christians" ), the remainder including 
Muhammadans ("Moors"), who probably belonged 
chiefly to Mahim, and Hindus of various castes, such 
as " Sinays " (Shenvis), " Corumbeens " (Kunbis) and 
" Coolys " (Kolis).^ The most important section of the 
Hindu element in this force of military night-watchmen 
was that of the Bhandaris ( " Bandareens " ), whose 
ancestors formed a settlement in Bombay in early ages, 
and whose modern descendants still cherish traditions 
of the former military and political power of their caste 
in the north Konkan. 

The militia appears to have been maintained more 
or less at full strength during the troubled period of Sir 
John Child's governorship (1681-90). It narrowly escaped 

1. Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island, Vol. II, pp. 65 ff. 

2. R. and O. Strachey, Keigwin's Rebellion, p. 19 and App. E. 

3. The letter of December 15, 1673, from Aungier and Council 
mentions these as some of the chief classes of Hindus in 
Bombay. 



I THE BHANDARI MILITIA 1672-1800 3 

disbandment in 1 679, in pursuance of Sir Josia Child's 
ill-conceived policy of retrenchment : but as the orders 
for its abolition arrived at the very moment when Sivaji 
was threatening a descent on Bombay and the Sidi was 
flouting the Company's authority and seizing their 
territory, even the subservient John Child could not face 
the risk involved in carrying out the instructions from 
home ; and in the following year the orders were 
rescinded.1 The force, however, did not wholly escape 
the consequences of Child's cheese-paring policy. By 
the end of 1682 there was only one ensign for the whole 
force of 500, and of non-commissioned officers there were 
only three sergeants and two corporals. Nevertheless 
the times were so troubled that they had to remain con- 
tinuously under arms.^ It is therefore not surprising 
that when Keigwin raised the standard of revolt against 
the Company in December 1683, the militia sided in a 
body with him and his fellow-mutineers, and played an 
active part in the bloodless revolution which they 
achieved. Two years after the restoration of Bombay 
to Sir Thomas Grantham, who had been commissioned 
by the Company to secure the surrender of Keigwin and 
his associates, a further reference to the militia appears 
in an order of November 15th, 1686, by Sir John Wyborne, 
Deputy Governor, to John Wyat.^ The latter was in- 
structed to repair to Sewri with two topasses and take 
charge of a new guard-house, to allow no runaway 
soldiers or others to leave the island, to prevent cattle, 
corn or provisions being taken out of Bombay, and to 
arrest and search any person carrying letters and send 
him to the Deputy Governor. The order concluded 
with the following words: — 

** Suffer poor people to come and inhabit on the 
island; and call the militia to watch with you every 
night, sparing the Padre of Parel's servants." 

1. R. and O. Strachey, Keigwi/i's Rebellion, P* 4I« 

2. Ibid. p. 68. 

3. Bombay Gazetteer, Vol. XXVI, (Materials), Part III, p. 8. 



4 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

The terms of the order indicate to some extent the 
dangers and difficulties which confronted Bombay at 
this epoch : and it is a reasonable inference that the 
duties of the militia were dictated mainly by the military 
and political exigencies of a period in which the hostility 
of the neighbouring powers in Western India and serious 
internal troubles produced a constant series of "alarums 
and excursions". 

The close of the seventeenth and the earlier years of 
the eighteenth century were marked by much lawlessness; 
and in the outlying parts of Bombay the militia appears 
to have formed the only safeguard of the residents against 
robbery and violence. This is clear from an order of 
September 13, 1694, addressed by Sir John Gayer, the 
Governor, to Jansanay ( Janu Shenvi) Subehdar of Worli, 
Ramaji Avdat, Subehdar of Mahim, Raji Karga, Subehdar 
of Sion, and Bodji Patau, Subehdar of Sewri. "Being 
informed," he wrote, "that certain ill people on this 
island go about in the night to the number of ten or 
twelve or more, designing some mischief or disturbance 
to the inhabitants, these are to enorder you to go the 
rounds every night with twenty men at all places which 
you think most suitable to intercept such persons."^ 
The strengthening of the force at this period^ and the 
increased activity of the night-patrols had very little 
effect in reducing the volume of crime, which was a 
natural consequence of the general weakness of the 
administration. The appalling mortality among Euro- 
peans, the lack of discipline among the soldiers of the 
garrison, the general immorality to which Ovington, the 
chaplain, bore witness,^ the prevalence of piracy and the 
lack of proper laws and legal machinery, all contributed 
to render Bombay "very unhealthful" and to offer 
unlimited scope to the lawless section of the population. 

1. Bombay Gazetteer, Vol. XXVI, Part ill, p. 8. 

2. Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island, Vol. II, p. 258. 

3. Rev. F. Ovington, Vot/aqe to Suratt in 1689, London, 1696. 



I THE BHANDARI MILITIA 1672-1800 5 

As regards the law, judicial functions were exercised 
at the beginning of the eighteenth century by a civil 
officer of the Company, styled Chief Justice, and in 
important cases by the President in Council. Neither of 
these officials had any real knowledge of law ; no codes 
existed, except two rough compilations made during 
Aungier's governorship : and justice was consequently 
very arbitrary. In 1726 this Court was exercising civil, 
criminal, military, admiralty and probate jurisdiction ; it 
also framed rules for the price of bread and the wages 
of *' black tailors".! Connected with the Court from 
1720 to 1727 were the Vereadores? a body of native 
functionaries who looked after orphans and the estates 
of persons dying intestate, and audited accounts. After 
1726 they also exercised minor judicial powers and seem 
to have partly taken the place of the native tribunals, 
which up to 1696 administered justice to the Indian 
inhabitants of the Island.^ So matters remained until 
1726, when under the Charter creating Mayors' Courts at 
Calcutta, Bombay and Madras the Governor and Council 
were empowered to hold quarter sessions for the trial of 
all offences except high treason, the President and the 
five senior members of Council being created Justices of 
the Peace and constituting a Court of Oyer and Terminer 
and Gaol Delivery, 

For purposes of criminal justice Bombay was con- 
sidered a county. The curious state of the law at this 
date is apparent from the trial of a woman, named Gangi, 
who was indicted in 1744 for petty treason in aiding and 
abetting one Vitha Bhandari in the murder of her 
husband.* She was found guilty and was sentenced to 
be burnt. Apparently the penalty for compassing a 

1. P. B. Malabari, Bombay in the Making, p. 437. 

2. Ibid. p. 465, Vereador means procurator or attorney. The 
Vereador wore a gown as Vereador da Camera or member of 
a town council (Da Cunha). 

3. Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island, Vol. II, p. 212, 

4. Bombay Gazetteer, Vol. XXVI, Part iii, pp. 8 ff. 



6 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

husband's death was the same as for high treason : and 
the sentence of burning for petty treason was the only- 
sentence the Court could legally have passed. Twenty 
years earlier (1724) an ignorant woman, by name Bastok, 
was accused of witchcraft and other "diabolical 
practices." The Court found her guilty, not from evil 
intent, but on account of ignorance, and sentenced her 
to receive eleven lashes at the church door and after- 
wards to do penance in the building.^ 

The system, whereby criminal jurisdiction was 
vested in the Governor and Council, lasted practically 
till the close of the eighteenth century. In 1753, for 
example, the Bombay Government was composed of the 
Governor and thirteen councillors, all of whom were 
Justices of the Peace and Commissioners of Oyer and 
Terminer and Gaol Delivery. They were authorised to 
hold quarter sessions and make bye-laws for the good 
government etc. of Bombay; and to aid them in the 
exercise of their magisterial powers as Justices, they had 
an executive officer, the Sheriff, with a very limited 
establishment.^ In 1757 and 1759 they issued procla- 
mations embodying various " rules for the maintenance of 
the peace and comfort of Bombay's inhabitants " ; but 
with the possible exception of the Sheriff, they had no 
executive agency to enforce the observance of these 
rules and bye-laws, and no body of men, except the 
militia, for the prevention and detection of offences. 
When, therefore, in 1769 the state of the public security 
called loudly for reform, the Bombay Government were 
forced to content themselves and their critics with re- 
publishing these various proclamations and regulations — 
a course which, as may be supposed, effected very little 
real good. In a letter to the Court of Directors, dated 
December 20th, 1769, they reported that in consequence 

1. P. B. Malabari, Bombay in the Making, p. 287. 

2. Warden's Report in W. H. Morley, Analytical Digest of Cases 
decided in tlie Supreme Court of Judicature (London, 1849), Vol* II, 
p. 458. 



I THE BHANDARI MILITIA 1672-1800 7 

of a letter from a bench of H. M/s Justices they had 
issued on August 26, 1769, *' sundry regulations for the 
better conducting the police of the place in general, 
particularly in respect to the markets for provisions of 
every kind " ; and these regulations were in due course 
approved by the Court in a dispatch of April 25, 1771.1 

Police arrangements, however, were still very 
unsatisfactory, and crimes of violence, murder and robbery 
were so frequent outside the town walls that in August, 
1771, Brigadier- General David Wedderburn^ submitted 
proposals to the Bombay Government for rendering the 
Bhandari militia^, as it was then styled, more efficient. 
His plan may be said to mark the definite employment 
of the old militia on regular police duties. Accordingly 
the Bombay Bhandaris were formed into a battalion 
composed of 48 officers and 400 men, which furnished 
nightly a guard of 12 officers and loO men "for the 
protection of the woods." This guard was distributed 
as follows :— 

4 officers and 33 men at Washerman's Tank 

(Dhobi Talao) 
4 „ „ 33 „ near Major Mace's house. 

4 „ „ 34 „ at Mamba Davy (Mumbadevi) 

tank. 
From these posts constant patrols, which were in 
communication with one another, were sent out from 
dark until gunfire in the morning, the whole area between 
Dongri and Back Bay being thus covered during the night. 
The Vereadores were instructed to appoint not less than 
20 trusty and respectable Portuguese fazendars to attend 
singly or in pairs every night at the various police posts. 

1. W. H. Morley, Digest etc, Vol. II (Warden's Report); Bombay 
Gazetteer, Vol. XXVI, iii. 

2. General Wedderburn was killed at the storming of Broach in 
November, 1772. 

3. The fact that it was called the Bhandari militia implies that 
the Native Christian element had largely disappeared, and that 
Bhandaris and other Hindus of the lower classes formed the 
bulk of the force. 



8 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

All Europeans living in Sonapur or Dongri had to obtain 
passes according to their class, /. e. those in the marine 
forces from the Superintendent, those in the military- 
forces from their commanding officer, all other Euro- 
peans, not in the Company's service, but living in 
Bombay by permission of the Government, from the 
Secretary to Government, and all artificers employed in 
any of the offices from the head of their office. 

The duties of the patrols were to keep the peace, 
to seize all persons found rioting, pending examination, 
to arrest all robbers and housebreakers, to seize all Euro- 
peans without passes, and all coffrees (African slaves) 
found in greater numbers than two together, or armed 
with swords, sticks, knives or bludgeons. All coffrees 
or other runaway slaves were to be apprehended, and were 
punished by being put to work on the fortifications for 
a year at a wage of Rs. 3 per month, or by being placed 
aboard cruisers for the same term, a notice being published 
of their age, size, country of origin and description, 
so that their masters might have a chance of claiming 
them. If unclaimed by the end of twelve months, they 
were shipped to Bencoolen in Sumatra. 

The standing order to all persons to register their 
slaves was to be renewed and enforced under a penalty. 
The Company agreed to pay the Bhandari police Rs. 10 
for every coffree or runaway slave arrested and placed 
on the works or on a cruiser; Re. I for every slave 
absent from his work for three days ; and Rs. 2 for e very- 
slave absent from duty for one month ; Re. I for every 
soldier or sailor absent from duty for forty-eight hours, 
whom they might arrest ; and 8 annas for every soldier 
or sailor found drunk in the woods after 8 p. m. 
The money earned in the latter cases was to be paid at 
once by the Marine Superintendent or the Commanding 
Officer, as the case might be, and deducted from the pay 
of the defaulter ; and the total sum thus collected was to 
be divided once a month or oftener among the Bhandaris 
on duty. 




Armed Police Constable 
Bombay City 



I THE BHANDARI MILITIA 1672-1800 9 

The oflScers in charge of the police posts and the 
Portuguese fazendars, attached thereto, were to make a 
daily report of all that had happened during the night 
and place all persons arrested by the patrols before a 
magistrate for examination. The Bhandari patrols were 
to assemble daily at 5 p. m. opposite to the Church Gate 
( of the Fort ) and, weather permitting, they were to be 
taught '* firing motions and the platoon exercise, and to 
fire balls at a mark, for which purpose some good 
havaldars should attend to instruct them, and the adju- 
tant of the day or some other European officer should 
constantly attend." 

These Bhandari night-patrols, as organized by Gene- 
ral Wedderburn, were the germ from which sprang the 
later police administration of the Island. We see the 
beginnings of police sections and divisions in the three 
main night-posts with their complement of officers and 
men ; the forerunner of the modern divisional morning 
report in the daily report of the patrol officer and the 
fazendar ; and the establishment of an armed branch in 
the fire-training given to the patrols in the evening. The 
presence of the fazendars was probably based on the 
occasional need of an interpreter and of having some 
advisory check upon the exercise of their powers by the 
patrols. In those early days the fazendar may have 
supplied the place of public opinion, which now plays 
no unimportant part in the police administration of the 
modern city. 

Notwithstanding these arrangements, the volume of 
crime showed no diminution. Murder, robbery and 
theft were still of frequent occurrence outside the Fort 
walls : and in the vain hope of imposing some check 
upon the lawless element, the Bombay Government in 
August, 1776, ordered parties of regular sepoys to be 
added to the Bhandari patrols. Three years later, in 
February, 1779, they decided, apparently as an experi- 
ment, to supplant the Bhandari militia entirely by patrols 
of sepoys, which were to be furnished by " the battalion 
2 



10 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

of sepoy marines ". These patrols were to scour the 
woods nightly, accompanied by "a peace officer", who 
was to report every morning to the acting magistrate.^ 
Still there was no improvement, and the dissatisfaction 
of the general public was forcibly expressed at the close 
of 1778 or early in the following year by the grand Jury, 
which demanded a thorough reform of the police.^ In 
the course of their presentment they stated that " the 
frequent robberies and the difficulties attending the de- 
tection of aggressors, called loudly for some establishment 
clothed with such authority as should effectually protect 
the innocent and bring the guilty to trial '\ and they pro- 
posed that His Majesty's Justices should apply to 
Government for the appointment of an officer with ample 
authority to effect the end in view.^ 

This pronouncement of the Grand Jury was the 
precursor of the first appointment of an executive Chief 
of Police in Bombay. On February 17, 1779, Mr. James 
Tod ( or Todd ) was appointed " Lieutenant of Police ", 
on probation, with an allowance of Rs. 4 per diem, and 
on March 3rd of that year he was sworn into office; a 
formal commission signed by Mr. William Hornby, the 
Governor, was granted to him, and a public notification 
of the creation of the office and of the powers vested in it 
was issued. He was also furnished with copies of the 
regulations in force, and was required by the terms of his 
commission to follow all orders given to him by the 
Government or by the Justices of the Peace.* 

Tod had a chequered career as head of the Bombay 
police. The first attack upon him was delivered by the 
very body which had urged the creation of his appointment. 
The Grand Jury, like the frogs of -^sop who demanded 
a King, found the appointment little to their liking, and 
were moved in the following July (1779) to present "the 

1. Bombay Gazetteer, Vol. XXVI (Materials), Part iii. 

2. Morley Digest etc. (Warden's Report). 

3. Ibid. 

4. Ibid, Bombay Gazetteer, Vol. XXVI, Part iii. 



I THE BHANDARI MILITIA 1 672-1800 II 

said James Todd as a public nuisance, and his office of 
Police as of a most dangerous tendency" ; and they 
earnestly recommended " that it be immediately abolish- 
ed, as fit only for a despotic government, where a Bastille 
is at hand to enforce its authority'*. 

The Government very properly paid no heed to this 
curious volteface of the Grand Jury, and Tod was left free 
to draft a new set of police regulations, which were badly 
needed, and to do what he could to bring his force of 
militia into shape. His regulations were submitted on 
December 31, 1779, and were approved by the Bombay 
Council and ordered to be published on January 26th, 
1780. They were based upon notifications and orders 
previously issued from time to time at the Presidency 
and approved by the Justices, and were eventually regis- 
tered in the Court of Oyer and Terminer and Gaol 
Delivery on April 17, 1780. Between the date of their 
approval by the Council and their registration by the 
Court, Tod revised them on the lines of the Police regu- 
lations adopted in Calcutta in 1778.^ It was further 
provided at the time of their registration that " a Bench 
of Justices during the recess of the Sessions should be 
authorized from time to time to make any necessary 
alterations and amendments in the code, subject to their 
being affirmed or reversed at the General Quarter Sessions 
of the Peace next ensuing". Tod's regulations, which 
numbered forty-one, were the only rules for the manage- 
ment of the police which had been passed up to that 
date in a formal manner. They were first approved in 
Council, as mentioned above, by the authority of the 
Royal Charter of 1753, granted to the East India Company, 
and were then published and registered at the Sessions 
under the authority conveyed by the subsequent Act 
( 13 Geo. in ) of 1773. They thus constituted the earliest 
Bombay Police Code. 

I. At that date the office of Superintendent of Police existed at 
Calcutta. 



12 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

Meanwhile Tod found his new post by no means a 
bed of roses. On November 30th, 1779, he wrote to the 
Council stating that his work as Lieutenant of Police 
had created for him many enemies and difficulties. 
He had twice been indicted for felony and had been 
honourably acquitted on both occasions : but he still 
lived in continual dread of blame. " By unremitting and 
persevering attention to duty I have made many and 
bitter enemies ", he wrote, " in consequence of which I 
have been obliged in great measure to give up my bread." 
He added that his military title of Lieutenant of Police 
had proved obnoxious to many, and he offered to resign 
it, suggesting at the same time that, following the 
precedent set by Calcutta, he should be styled 
Superintendent of Police. Lastly he asked the Council 
to fix his emoluments. The censure of the Grand Jury, 
quoted in a previous paragraph, indicates clearly the 
opposition with which Tod was faced ; and one can- 
not but sympathize with an officer whose endeavours 
to perform his duty efficiently resulted in his 
arraignment before a criminal court. That he was 
honourably acquitted on both occasions shows that at 
this date at any rate he was the victim of malicious 
persecution. 

As regards the style and title of his appointment, the 
Bombay Council endorsed his views, and on March 29th, 
1780, they declared the office of Lieutenant of Police 
annulled, and created in its place the office of Deputy of 
Police on a fixed salary of Rs. 3,000 a year. Accordingly 
on April 5th, 1780, Tod formally relinquished his former 
office and was appointed Deputy of Police, being 
permitted to draw his salary of Rs. 3,000 a year with 
retrospective effect from the date of his first appointment 
as "Lieutenant". On the same day he submitted the 
revised code of police regulations, which was formally 
registered in the Court of Oyer and Terminer on April 
17th. In abolishing the post of Lieutenant the Bombay 
Government anticipated by a few months the order of 



I THE BHANDARI MILITIA 1672-1800 13 

the Court of Directors, who wrote as follows on July 5th, 
1780 :— 

" Determined as we are to resist every attempt that 
may be made to create new offices at the expense 
of the Company, we cannot but be highly displeased 
with your having appointed an officer in quality of 
Lieutenant of Police with a salary of Rs. 4 a day. 
Whatever sum may have been paid in consequence 
must be refunded. If such an officer be of that 
utility to the public as you have represented, the 
public by some tax or otherwise should defray the 
charges thereof." 

Before leaving the subject of the actual appointment, 
it is to be noted that at some date previous to 1780 the 
office of High Constable was annexed to that of Deputy 
of Police ; for, in his: letter to the Court of Sessions asking 
for the confirmation and publication of his police regu- 
lations. Tod describes himself as '* Deputy of Police and 
High Constable ". No information, however, is forth- 
coming as to when this office was created, nor when it 
was amalgamated with the appointment of Deputy of 
Police.' 

The actual details of Tod's police administration 
are obscure. At the outset he was apparently hampered 
by lack of funds, for which the Bombay Government had 
made no provision. On January 17th, 1780, he sub- 
mitted to them an account of sums which he had advanced 
and expended in pursuance of his duties as executive 
head of the police, and also informed the Council that 
twenty-four constables, " who had been sworn in for the 
villages without the gates*', had received no pay and 
consequently had, in concert with the Bhandaris, been 
exacting heavy fees from the inhabitants. Tod requested 
the Government to pay the wages due to these men, or, 
failing that, to authorize payment by a general assess- 
ment on all heads of families residing outside the gates 
of the town. The Council reimbursed Tod's expenses 

I. Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island, Vol. II, p. 241 (note) 
Morley, Digest etc* 



14 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

and issued orders for an assessment to meet the cost of 
the constabulary. 

While allowing for the many difficulties confronting 
him, Tod cannot be held to have achieved much success 
as head of the police. His old critics, the Grand Jury, 
returned to the charge at the Sessions which opened on 
April 30th, 1787, and protested in strong terms against 
" the yet inefficient state of every branch of the Police, 
which required immediate and effectual amendment". 
" That part of it " they said, " which had for its object 
the personal security of the inhabitants and their property 
was not sufficiently vigorous to prevent the frequent 
repetition of murder, felony, and every other species of 
atrociousness — defects that had often been the subject of 
complaint from the Grand Jury of Bombay, but never 
with more reason than at that Sessions, as the number 
of prisoners for various offences bore ample testimony." 

They animadverted on the want of proper regulations, 
on the great difficulty of obtaining menial servants and 
the still greater difficulty of retaining them in their 
service, on the enormous wages which they demanded 
and their generally dubious characters. So far as con- 
cerned the domestic servant problem, the Bombay public 
at the close of the eighteenth century seems to have been 
in a position closely resembling that of the middle-classes 
in England at the close of the Great War (1914-18). 
The Grand Jury complained also of the defective state 
of the high roads, of the uncleanliness of many streets 
in the Town, and of "the filthiness of some of the 
inhabitants, being uncommonly offensive and a real 
nuisance to society ". They objected to the obstruction 
caused by the piling of cotton on the Green and in the 
streets, to the enormous price of the necessaries of life, 
the bad state of the markets, and the high rates of labour. 
They urged the Justices to press the Bombay Government 
for reform and suggested " the appointment of a Com- 
mittee of Police with full powers to frame regulations and 
armed with sufficient authority to carry them into 



1 THE BHANDARI MILITIA 1672-1800 15 

execution, as had already been done with happy effect 
on the representation of the Grand Juries at the other 
Presidencies." 

The serious increase of robbery and "nightly 
depredations '' was ascribed chiefly to the fact that all 
persons were allowed to enter Bombay freely, without 
examination, and that the streets were infested with 
beggars "calling themselves Faquiers and Jogees 
( Fakirs and Jogis )", who exacted contributions from 
the public. The beggar-nuisance is one of the chief 
problems requiring solution in the modern City of 
Bombay : and it may be some consolation to a harassed 
Commissioner of Police to know that his predecessor of 
the eighteenth century was faced with similar difficulties. 
The Grand Jury were not over-squeamish in their re- 
commendations on the subject. They advocated the 
immediate deportation of all persons having no visible 
means of subsistence, and as a result the police, 
presumably under Tod*s orders, sent thirteen suspicious 
persons out of the Island.^ 

Three years later, in 1790, Tod's administration came 
to a disastrous close. He was tried for corruption. "The 
principal witness against him (as must always happen)", 
wrote Sir James Mackintosh, " was his native receiver 
of bribes. He expatiated on the danger to all Englishmen 
of convicting them on such testimony ; but in spite of 
a topic which, by declaring all black agents incredible, 
would render all white villains secure, he was convicted ; 
though — too lenient a judgment— he was only reprimand- 
ed and suffered to resign his station".^ Sir James 
Mackintosh, as is clear from his report of October, 181 1, 
to the Bombay Government, was stoutly opposed to the 
system of granting the chief executive police officer wide 
judicial powers, such as those exercised by Tod and his 
immediate successors : and his hostility to the system may 

1. Morley, Digest etc, (Warden's Report) Vol. II ; Bombay Gazetteer, 
Vol. XXVI, Part III, 67. 

2. Sir J. Mackintoshes letter in Morley, Digest etc, Vol. II, p. 513. 



16 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

have led to his overlooking the exceptional difficulties 
and temptations to which Tod was exposed. The 
Governor and his three Councillors, in whom by Act 
XXIV, Geo. m, of i;85 ( " for the better regulation 
and management of the affairs of the East India 
Company and for establishing a Court of Judicature '* ), 
the supreme judicial and executive administration of 
Bombay were at this date vested, realized perhaps that 
Tod*s emoluments of Rs. 250 a month were scarcely 
large enough to secure the integrity of an official vested 
with such wide powers over a community, whose moral 
standards were admittedly low, that Tod had done a 
certain amount of good work under difficult conditions, 
and that the very nature of his office was bound to 
create him many enemies. On these considerations they 
may have deemed it right to temper justice with mercy 
and to permit the delinquent to resign his appointment in 
lieu of being dismissed. 

The identity of Tod*s immediate successor is un- 
known. Whoever he was, he seems to have effected no 
amelioration of existing conditions. In 1793 the Grand 
Jury again drew pointed attention to " the total inade- 
quacy of the police arrangements for the preservation of 
the peace and the prevention of crimes, and for bringing 
criminals to justice." Bombay was the scene of constant 
robberies by armed gangs, none of whom were appre- 
hended. The close of the eighteenth century was a period 
of chaos and internecine warfare throughout a large part 
of India, and it is only natural that Bombay should have 
suffered to some extent from the inroads of marauders, 
tempted by the prospect of loot. A system of night- 
patrols, weak in numbers and poorly paid, could not 
grapple effectively with organized gangs of free-booters, 
nurtured on dangerous enterprises and accustomed to great 
rapidity of movement. The complaints of the Grand Jury, 
however, could not be overlooked, and led directly to the 
appointment of a committee to consider the whole 
subject of the police administration and suggest reform. 



I THE BHANDARI MILITIA 1672-1800 17 

This committee was in the midst of its enquiry when 
Act XXXIII, Geo. III. of 1793 was promulgated and 
rendered further investigation unnecessary. Under that 
Act a Commission of the Peace, based upon the form 
adopted in England, was issued for each Presidency by 
the Supreme Court of Judicature in Bengal. The 
Governor and his Councillors remained ex officiis Justices 
of the Peace for the Island, and five additional Justices 
were appointed by the Governor-General-in-Council 
on the recommendation of the Bombay Government. 
The Commission of the Peace further provided for the 
abolition of the office of Deputy of Police and High 
Constable, and created in its place the office of 
Superintendent of Police. 

The first Superintendent of Police was Mr. Simon 
Halliday, who just prior to the promulgation of the Act 
above-mentioned had been nominated by the Justices to 
the office of High Constable. So much appears from 
the records of the Court of Sessions; and one may 
presume that after the Act came into operation in 1793 
Mr. Halliday's title was altered to that of Superintendent. 
His powers were somewhat curtailed to accord 
with the powers vested in the Superintendent of Police 
at Calcutta, and he was bound to keep the Governor-in- 
Council regularly informed of all action taken by him 
in his official capacity. 

Mr. Halliday was in charge of the office of Super- 
intendent of Police until 1 808. His assumption of office 
synchronized with a thorough revision of the arrangements 
for policing the area outside the Fort, which up 
to that date had proved wholly ineffective. Under the 
new system, which is stated in Warden's Report to have 
been introduced in 1793 and was approved by the 
Justices a little later, the troublesome area known as 
"Dungree and the Woods*' was split up into 14 police 
divisions, each division being staffed by 2 Constables 
(European) and a varying number of Peons (not exceeding 
130 for the whole area), who were to be stationary in 
3 



I8 



THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE 



CHAP, 



their respective charges and responsible for dealing with 
all illegal acts committed within their limits. 

The disposition of this force of 158 men was as 
follows : — ' 



Name of Chokey 


Number 

of 
Constables 


Number 

of 
Peons 


Total 


Washerman's Tank (Dhobi Talao). 

Back Bay 

Palo (Apollo /. e. Girgaum Road). 
Girgen (Girgaum) 
Gowdevy (Gamdevi) 

Pillajee Ramjee^ 

Moomladevy (Mumbadevi) 
Calvadevy (Kalbadevi) ... 
Sheik Maymon's Market 

(Sheik Memon Street ?) ... 
Butchers (Market?) 
Cadjees (Kazi's market or post) ... 
Ebram Gowns (Ibrahim Khan's 

market or post). 

Sat Tar (Sattad Street) 

Portuguese Church (Cavel) 


2 
2 
2 
2 
2 
2 
2 
2 

2 
2 
2 

2 
2 

2 


12 

10 

6 

12 

8 

8 

ID 

8 

10 

ID 

8 

8 
12 

8 


14 
12 

8 

14 
10 
10 

12 
10 

12 
12 
10 

10 

14 
10 




28 


130 


158 



The names of the police-stations or chaukis (chokeys) 
show that the area thus policed included roughly the 
modern Dhobi Talao section and the southern part of 
Girgaum, most of the present Market and Bhuleshwar 
sections and the western parts of the modern Dongri and 
Mandvi sections. In fact, the expression " Dongri and 
the Woods" represented the area which formed the 
nucleus of what were known in the middle of the nine- 

I. It is not clear whether this post is identical with "Pilaji 
Ramji's Naka " of the twentieth century, which is the name 
familiarly applied to the junction of Grant Road and Duncan 
Road near the Northbrook Gardens. Here some years ago one 
Pilaji Ramji occupied a corner house, in which he used to 
place an enormous figure of the god Ganesh during the annual 
Ganpati festival. Large crowds of Hindus used to visit the 
house to see the idol, and hence gave the name " Pilaji's post " 
to the locality. It is quite possible that the name first came 
into use in the'eighteenth century. 



I THE BHANDARI MILITIA 1672-1800 19 

teenth century as the *' Old Town " and " New Town ". 
At the date of Mr. Halliday's appointment, this part 
of the Island was almost entirely covered with oarts 
Qwrtas) and plantations, intersected by a few narrow 
roads; and if one may judge by the illustration " A Night 
in Dongri " in The Adventures of Qui-hi (l8l6),-^ a portion of 
this area was inhabited largely by disreputable persons. 
Simultaneously with the introduction of the 
arrangements described above, an establishment of 
"rounds" hitherto maintained by the arrack-farmer, 
consisting of one clerk of militia, 4 havaldars and 86 
sepoys, and costing Rs. 318 per month, was abolished. 
Mahim, which was still regarded as a suburb, had its own 
"Chief," who performed general, magisterial and police 
duties in that area ; while other outlying places like Sion 
and Sewri were furnished with a small body of native police 
under a native officer, subject to the general supervision 
and control of the Superintendent. In 1797 the condition 
of the public thoroughfares and roads was so bad that, 
on the death in that year of Mr. Lankhut, the Surveyor 
of Roads, his department was placed in charge of the 
Superintendent of Police ; while in 1800 the office of 
Clerk of the Market was also annexed to that of the chief 
police officer, in pursuance of the recommendations of a 
special committee. In the following year, 1801, the old 
office of Chief of Mahim was finally abolished, and his 
magisterial and police duties were thereupon vested in the 
Superintendent of Police. To enable him to cope with 
this additional duty, an appointment of Deputy Super- 
intendent, officiating in the Mahim district, was created, 
the holder of which was directly subordinate in all 
matters to the Superintendent of Police. The first Deputy 
Superintendent was Mr. James Fisher, who continued in 
office until the date (1808) of Mr. Halliday's retirement 
when he was succeeded by Mr. James Morley. 

I. Published in 1816, with illustrations by Rowlandson< 



CHAPTER II 

THE RISE OF THE MAGISTRACY 
1800— 1855 

As has been shown in the preceding chapter, the 
importance of the office of Superintendent of Police had 
been considerably enhanced by the year 1809. Excluding 
the control of markets and roads, which was taken from 
him in that year, the Superintendent had executive 
control of all police arrangements in the Island, exercised 
all the duties of a High Constable, an Alderman and a 
Justice of the Peace, was Secretary of the Committee of 
Buildings, a member of the Town Committee, and 
a member of the Buildings Committee of H.M/s 
Naval Offices in Bombay. He had been appointed a 
Justice of the Peace at his own request, on the grounds 
that he would thereby be enabled to carry out his police 
work more effectively. His deputy at Mahim was also 
appointed a Justice of the Peace on the publication 
of Act XLVIII, Geo. III. of 1808. 

The year 1809 marks another crisis in the history 
of Bombay's police administration, to which several 
factors may be held to have contributed. In the first 
place crime was still rampant and defied all attempts to 
reduce it. Bodies of armed men continued to enter the 
Island, as for example in 1806 and 1807, and to terrify, 
molest and loot the residents ; and though these gangs 
remained for some little time within the Superintendent's 
jurisdiction, they were never apprehended by the police.^ 
In his report of November 15, 1810, Warden refers also 
to an attack by " Cossids ", /. e, Kasids or letter-carriers, 
who must have been induced to leave for the moment 
their ordinary duties as postal-runners and messengers 
by the apparent immunity from arrest and punishment 
I Morley, Digest etc. (Warden's Report), Vol. II, p. 492. 



n THE RISE OF THE MAGISTRACY 1800-1855 21 

enjoyed by the bands of regular thieves and freebooters. 
In consequence of the general lawlessness traffic in stolen 
goods was at this date a most lucrative profession, and 
obliged the Justices in 1797 to nominate individual 
goldsmiths and shroffs as public pawnbrokers for a term 
of five years, on condition that they gave security for 
good conduct and furnished the police regularly with 
returns of valuable goods sold or purchased by them."^ 
Another source of annoyance to the authorities was the 
constant desertion of sailors from the vessels of the 
Royal Navy and of the East India Company. These men 
were rarely arrested and the police appeared unable to 
discover their haunts. The peons, i.e, native constables 
were declared to be seldom on duty, except when 
they expected the Superintendent to pass, and to spend 
their time generally in gambling and other vices. In 
brief, the police force was so inefficient and crime was 
so widespread and uncontrolled that public opinion 
demanded urgent reform. 

In the second place, the old system whereby the 
Governor and his Council constituted the Court of Oyer 
and Terminer and Gaol Delivery disappeared on the 
establishment in 1798 of a Recorder's Court. The 
powers of the Justices, who were authorized to hold 
Sessions of the Peace, remained unimpaired, and nine of 
them, exclusive of the Members of Government, were 
nominated for the Town and Island. It was inevitable 
that the constitution of a competent judicial tribunal, 
presided over by a trained lawyer, should, apart from 
other causes, lead to a general stock-taking of the 
judicial administration of Bombay, and incidentally 
should direct increased attention to the subject of the 
powers vested in the Police and the source whence they 
drew their authority. 

The powers of the Superintendent of Police at this 
epoch were very wide. First, he had power to convict 
offenders summarily and punish them at the police office. 
I. Bombay Courier, February 4th, 1797. 



22 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

This procedure, in the opinion of the Recorder, Sir James 
Mackintosh (1803-I1), was quite illegal, inasmuch as 
the punishments were inflicted under rules, which from 
1753 to 1807 were not confirmed by the Court of Directors 
and had therefore no validity. The rules made between 
1807 and 181 1 were likewise declared by the same 
authority to be invalid, as they had not been registered 
in the court of judicature. On other grounds also the 
police rules authorizing this procedure were ultra vires. 
Secondly, the Superintendent inflicted the punishment of 
banishment and condemned offenders to hard labour in 
chains on public works. Between February 28, 1808, 
and January 31, 1809, he (i,e. Mr. Halliday) banished 
217 persons from Bombay, and condemned 64 persons 
to hard labour in the docks. During the three years, 
1807-1809, about 200 offenders were thus condemned to 
work in chains. On the other hand, the Superintendent 
frequently liberated prisoners before the expiry of their 
sentence, and in this way released 26 persons on Decem- 
ber 20, 1809, without assigning any reason. He condemned 
persons also to flogging. He kept no record of his cases. 
" He may arrest 40 men in the morning ", wrote Sir 
James Mackintosh, "he may try, convict and condemn 
them in the forenoon ; and he may close the day by 
exercising the Royal prerogative of pardon towards them 
all." It is hardly surprising that the mind of the lawyer 
revolted against the system, and that in his indignation 
he characterized the powers of the Superintendent as "a 
precipitate, clandestine and arbitrary jurisdiction."^ 

In the third place, the powers of the Governor-in- 
Council to enact police regulations for Bombay were 
defined anew and enlarged by Act XLVII, Geo. III. of 
1808, under the provisions of which the Government was 
empowered to nominate 1 6 persons, exclusive of the 
members of the Governor's Council, to act as Justices of 
the Peace. The promulgation of this Act, which was 

1. Sir J. Mackintoshes letter of October, 181 1, in Morley, Digest etc 
Vol. II. 



II THE RLSE OF THE MAGISTRACY 1800-1855 23 

received in Bombay in 1808, rendered necessary a 
thorough revision of the conditions and circumstances of 
police control. 

In consequence, therefore, of the prevalence of crime 
and the notorious inefficiency and corruption of the 
Police, the hostility of the new Recorder's Court to the 
existing system of administration, and the need of 
a new enactment under Act XLVII, the Bombay 
Government appointed a committee in 1809 to 
review the whole position and make suggestions for 
further reform. The President of the committee 
was Mr. F. Warden, Chief Secretary to Government, who 
eventually submitted proposals in a letter dated 
November 15, 1810. The urgent need of reform was 
emphasized by the fact that the Superintendent of Police, 
Mr. Charles Briscoe, who had succeeded Mr. Halliday in 
1809, was tried at the Sessions of November, 1810, for 
corruption, as Tod had been in 1790, and that complaints 
against the tyranny and inefficiency of the force were 
being daily received by the authorities. Sir James 
Mackintosh was only expressing public opinion when 
in 181 1 he recommended Government *' in their wisdom 
and justice to abolish even the name of Superintendent 
of Police, and to efface every vestige of an office of which 
no enlightened friend to the honour of the British name 
can recollect the existence without pain." 

Warden's proposals were briefly the following. 
He advocated the adaptation to Bombay of Colquhoun*s 
system for improving the police of London, and suggested 
the appointment on fixed salaries of two executive 
magistrates for the criminal branch of the Police, to be 
selected from among the Company's servants or British 
subjects — , "one for the Town of Bombay, whose jurisdiction 
shall extend to the Engineer's limits and to Colaba, 
and to offences committed in the harbour of Bombay, 
with a suitable establishment ; and a second for the 
division without the garrison, including the district of 
Mahim, with a suitable establishment.'' Both these 



24 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

magistrates were to have executive and judicial functions, 
and were also to perform "municipal duties".-^ The 
active functions of the police were to be performed by a 
Deputy, while ** the control, influence, and policy " were 
to be centred in a Superintendent-General of Police, 
aided by the two magistrates. The latter officer was to 
be responsible for the recruitment of the Deputy's 
subordinates, and the Mukadams (headmen) of each caste 
were to form part of the police establishment. 

Warden dealt at some length with the qualifications 
and powers which the chief police officer should possess. 
He proposed that the Superintendent's power of inflicting 
corporal punishment should be abolished, and that his 
duties should extend only to the apprehension, not to 
the punishment, of offenders; to the enforcement of 
regulations for law and order; to the superintendence of 
the scavenger's and road-repairing departments; to 
watching " the motley group of characters that infest 
this populous island ; " and to the vigilant supervision of 
houses maintained for improper and illegal purposes. 
" He should be the arbitrator of disputes between the 
natives, arising out of their religious prejudices. He 
should have authority over the Harbour, and should be 
in charge of convicts subjected to hard labour in the 
Docks, and those sent down to Bombay under sentence 
of transportation. He should not be the whole day 
closeted in his chamber, but abroad and active in the 
discharge of his duty; he should now and then appear 
where least expected. The power and vital influence of 
the office, and not its name only, should be known and 
felt. He ought to number among his acquaintances 
every rogue in the place and know all their haunts and 
movements. A character of this description is not 
imaginary, nor difficult of formation. We have heard 
of a Sartine and a Fouche ; a Colquhoun exists ; and I am 
informed that the character of Mr. Blaqueire at Calcutta, 
as a Magistrate, is equally efficient." Warden, indeed, 
I. Warden's Report in Morley, Digest etc. Vol. II, pp. 482 flf. 



n THE RISE OF THE MAGISTRACY 1800-1855 25 

demanded a kind of ** admirable Crichton/' — strictly 
honest, yet the boon-companion of every rascal in 
Bombay, keeping abreast of his office-work by day and 
perambulating the more dangerous haunts of the local 
criminals by night. It is only on rare occasions that a 
man of such varied abilities and energy is forthcoming : 
and nearly half a century was destined to elapse before 
Bombay found a Police Superintendent who more than 
fulfilled the high standard recommended by the Chief 
Secretary in 1810. 

The upshot of the Police Committee's enquiry and 
of the report of its President was the publication of Rule, 
Ordinance and Regulation I of 1812, which was drafted 
by Sir James Mackintosh in 181 1, and formed the basis 
of the police administration of Bombay until 1856. 
Under this Regulation, three Justices of the Peace were 
appointed Magistrates of Police with the following 
respective areas of jurisdiction :— 

(a) The Senior Magistrate, for the Fort and Harbour. 

(b) The Second Magistrate, for the area between 
the Fort Walls and a line drawn from the 
northern boundary of Mazagon to Breach Candy. 

(c) The Third Magistrate, with his office at Mahim, 
for all the rest of the Island.^ 

Included in the official staff of these three magistrates 
were :— 

a Purvoe ( 1. e. Prabhu clerk ) on Rs. 

a Cauzee (Kazi) „ „ 

a Bhut (Bhat, Brahman) ... „ „ 

a Jew Cauzee (Rabbi) ... „ „ 

an Andaroo (Parsi Mobed) ... „ „ 

Two Constables ... each „ „ 

One Havildar „ „ 

Four Peons each „ „ 

I. The Third Magistrate was not ^appointed until 1830. The 
other two were appointed in 1812, and the Second exercised 
jurisdiction over the whole Island, excluding the Fort and 
Harbour. 



50 per month 


8 


»> 


ti 


8 


>j 


f» 


12 


» 


» 


6 


» 


»9 


9 


>f 


if 


8 


»i 


U 


6 


it 


it 



26 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

The executive head of the Police force was a Deputy 
of Police and High Constable on a salary of Rs. 500 a 
month, while the general control and deliberative powers 
were vested in a Superintendent-General of Police. All 
appointments of individuals to the subordinate ranks of 
the force were made by the Magistrates of Police, who 
with the Superintendent-General met regularly as a Bench 
to consider all matters appertaining to the police 
administration of Bombay. European constables were 
appointed by the Justices at Quarter Sessions, and the 
Mukadams or headmen of each caste formed an integral 
feature of the police establishment. 

The strength and cost of the force in l8l2 were as 
follows :— 

1 Deputy of Police and Head 

Constable Rs. 500 per month 

2 European Assistants ( at Rs. 

100 each ) Rs. 200 „ „ 

3 Purvoes (Prabhus, clerks) ... Rs. 1 10 „ „ 

1 Inspector of Markets Rs. 80 „ „ 

2 Overseers of Roads (respectable 

natives at 50 each) Rs. lOO „ „ 

12 Havaldars (at Rs. 8 each) ... Rs. 96 „ „ 

8 Naiks (at Rs. 7 each) Rs. 56 „ „ 

6 European Constables Rs. 365 „ „ 

50 Peons (at Rs. 6 each) Rs. 300 „ „ 

I Battaki man Rs. 6 „ „ 

I Havaldar and 12 Peons for the 
Mahim patrol Rs. 80 „ „ 

Harbour Police. 

7 Boats i.e. 49 men Rs. 300 „ „ 

I Purvoe Rs. 50 „ „ 

4 Peons (at Rs. 6 each) Rs. 24 „ „ 

Contingencies Rs. 74 „ „ 

Thus, including the Deputy of Police, the land force 
comprised 10 Europeans, one of whom was in charge of 
the markets, and 86 Indians, of whom two were inspectors 



n THE RISE OF THE MAGISTRACY 1800-1855 27 

of roads. The clerical stafif consisted of three Prabhus. 
The water-police consisted of 53 Indians and one clerk. 
The cost of the force, including the water-police, 
amounted to Rs. 27,204 a year, to which had to be added 
Rs. 888 for contingencies, Rs. 1425 for the clothing of 
havaldars and peons, and Rs. 2000 for stationery.-^ 

The inclusion in the magisterial establishment of 
" a Cauzee " etc. requires brief comment. Down to 1790 
the administration of criminal justice in India was largely 
in the hands of Indian judges and officials of various 
denominations, though under European supervision in 
various forms ; and even after that date, when the native 
judiciary had ceased to exist except in quite subordinate 
positions, the law that was administered in criminal cases 
was in substance Muhammadan law, and a Kazi and a 
Mufti were retained in the provincial courts of appeal 
and circuit as the exponents of Muhammadan law and 
the deliverers of a foTmsdfatwa. The term Kazi on this 
account remained in formal existence till the abolition 
of the Sadr Courts in 1862.^ The object of associating 
Kazis with the Bombay magistrates of police at the 
opening of the nineteenth century was doubtless to en- 
sure that in all cases brought before them, involving 
questions of the law, customs and traditions of the chief 
communities and sects inhabiting the Island, the magis- 
trates should have the advantage of consulting those 
who were able to interpret and give a ruling on such 
matters. The Kazi proper was the authority on all 
matters relating to the Muhammadan community; the 
** Jew Cauzee " on matters relating to the Bene-Israel, who 
from 1760 to the middle of the nineteenth century 
contributed an important element to the Company's 
military forces;® the Bhat presumably gave advice on 

1. Morley, Digest etc. (Warden's Report), Vol. II. 

2. Hobson-Jobson, 1903, s. v. Cazee. 

3. The Kazis of the Bene-Israel officiated at all festivals of the 
community until the latter half of the nineteenth century, when, 
as education advanced, the office gradually became extinct. 



28 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

subjects affecting Hindus of the lower classes ; while the 
'* Andaroo " (i.e, Andhiyaru, a Parsi priest) was required 
in disputes and cases involving Parsis, whose customs in 
respect of marriage, divorce and inheritance had not at 
this date been codified and given the force of law. 

The Regulation of 1812 effected little or no improvement 
in the state of the public security. Gangs of criminals 
burned ships in Bombay waters to defraud the insurance- 
companies ; robberies by armed gangs occurred frequent- 
ly in all parts of the Island;^ and every householder of 
consequence was compelled to employ private watchmen, 
the fore-runners of the modern Ramosi and Bhaya, who 
were often in collusion with the bad characters of the 
more disreputable quarters of the Town.^ Even Colaba, 
which contained few dwellings, was described in 1827 
as the resort of thieves.' The executive head of the 
force at this date was Mr. Richard Goodwin, who succeed- 
ed the unfortunate Briscoe in 181 1 and served until 1816, 
when apparently he was appointed Senior Magistrate of 
Police, with Mr. W. Erskine as his Junior. 

The proceedings of both the magistrates and the 
police were regarded with a jaundiced eye by the 
Recorder's Court, and Sir Edward West, who filled the 
appointment, first of Recorder and then of Chief Justice, 
from 1822 to 1828, animadverted severely in 1825 upon 
the illegalities perpetrated by the magisterial courts, 
presided over at that date by Messrs. J. Snow and 
W. Erskine*. His successor in the Supreme Court,*^ Sir 
J. P, Grant, passed equally severe strictures upon the 

One Samuel Nissim was Kazi in 1800 (Gazetteer of Bombay 
City & Island, Vol I, pp. 250 ff.) 

1, One of the most notorious gangs was that of a certain All 
Paru, described in the Times of India of July 27, 1872. 

2, Bombay Courien March 3rd, 1827. 

3, Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island, Vol, II, p. 143. 

4, One Thomas Holloway appears in the Annual Register as 
« High Constable " in 1827. 

5, The Supreme Court supplanted the Recorder's Court in 182^ 
and was opened in 1824* 



n THE RISE OF THE MAGISTRACY 1800-1855 29 

police administration at the opening of the Quarter 
Sessions in 1828. 

" The calendar is a heavy one. Several of the crimes 
betoken a contempt of public justice almost incredi- 
ble and a state of morals inconsistent with any 
degree of public prosperity. Criminals have not 
only escaped, but seem never to have been placed 
in jeopardy. The result is a general alarm among 
native inhabitants. We are told that you are 
living under the laws of England. The only 
answer is that it is impossible. What has been 
administered till within a few years back has not 
been the law of England, nor has it been adminis- 
tered in the spirit of the law of England ; else it 
would have been felt in the ready and active 
support the people would have given to the law 
and its officers, and in the confidence people would 
have reposed in its efficacy for their protection."-^ 

The punishments inflicted at this date were on the 
whole almost as barbarous as those in vogue in earlier 
days. In 1799, for example, we read of a Borah, Ismail 
Sheikh, being hanged for theft : in 1804 a woman was 
sentenced to five years* imprisonment for perjury, during 
which period she was to stand once a year, on the 
first day of the October Sessions, in the pillory in front 
of the Court House (afterwards the Great Western 
Hotel ), with labels on her breast and back describing 
her crime : and in the same year one Harjivan was 
sentenced to be executed and hung in chains, presumably 
on Cross Island ( Chinal Tekri ), where the bodies of male- 
factors were usually exposed at this epoch. One James 
Pennico, who was convicted of theft in 1804, escaped 
lightly with three months* imprisonment and a public 
whipping at the cart's tail from Apollo Gate to Bazaar 
Gate; in 1806 a man who stole a watch was 
sentenced to two years' labour in the Bombay Docks.^ The 
public pillory and flogging were punishments constantly 
inflicted during the early years of the nineteenth century, 

1. F. D. Drewitt, Bombay in the days of George IV, 

2. P. B, Malabari, Bombay in the Making, p. 283. 



30 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

The pillory, which was in charge of the Deputy of Police, 
was located on the Esplanade in the neighbourhood of 
the site now occupied by the Municipal Offices. The last 
instance of its use occurred in 1834, when two Hindus 
were fastend in it by sentence of the Supreme Court and 
were pelted by boys for about an hour with a mixture 
composed of red earth, cowdung, decayed fruits and bad 
eggs. At intervals their faces were washed by two low-caste 
Hindus, and the pelting of filth was then resumed to the 
sound of a fanfaronade of horns blown by the Bhandaris 
attached to the Court.^ Meanwhile the English doctrine 
of the equality of all men before the law was gradually 
being established, though the earliest instance of a 
Brahman being executed for a crime of violence did not 
occur until 1846. The case caused considerable excite- 
ment among orthodox Hindus, whose views were based 
wholly upon the laws of Manu.^ 

The early ** thirties'* were remarkable for much crime 
and for a serious public disturbance, the Parsi-Hindu 
riots, which broke out in July, 1832, in consequence of 
a Government order for the destruction of pariah- 
dogs, which at this date infested every part of the 
Island. Two European constables, stimulated by the 
reward of eight annas for every dog destroyed, were 
killing one in the proximity of a house, when they were 
attacked and severely handled by a mob composed of 
Parsis and Hindus of several sects. On the following 
day all the shops in the Town were closed, and a mob of 
about 300 roughs commenced to intimidate all persons 
who attempted to carry out their daily business. The 
bazar was deserted j and the mob forcibly destroyed the 
provisions intended for the Queen's Royals, who were 
on duty in the Castle, and stopped all supplies of food 
and water for the residents of Colaba and the shipping 
in the harbour. As the mob continued to gather strength, 
Mr, de Vitre, the Senior Magistrate of Police, called for 

t. Times of Indian September 22, 1894. 

2. Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island, Vol, II, p. 224 (note 2.) 



II THE RISE OF THE MAGISTRACY 1800-1855 31 

assistance from the garrison, which quickly quelled the 
disturbance.^ 

The Press of this date recorded constant cases of 
burglary and dacoity. " The utmost anxiety and alarm 
prevail amongst the inhabitants of this Island, especially 
those residing in Girgaum, Mazagon, Byculla and the 
neighbourhood, in consequence of the depredations and 
daring outrages committed by gangs of robbers armed 
with swords, pistols and even musquets, who, from the 
open and fearless manner in which they proceed along 
the streets, sometimes carrying torches with them, seem 
to dread neither opposition nor detection, and to defy 
the police." It was even said that sepoys of the 4th 
Regiment of Native Infantry, then stationed in the 
Island, joined these gangs of marauders, and when two 
men of the Ilth Regiment were arrested on suspicion by 
a magistrate, their comrades stoned the magistrate's 
party. "It would be far better that the Island should be 
vacated altogether by the sepoy regiments," said the 
Courier, " than that it should be exposed repeatedly to 
these excesses." Fifty men of the Poona Auxiliary 
Force had to be brought down to aid the police and to 
patrol the roads at night.^ 

According to Mrs. Postans, the police administration 
had improved and robberies had become less frequent 
at the date of her visit, 1838. '*The establishment of 
an efficient police force," she writes, " is one of the great 
modern improvements of the Presidency, Puggees 
(Pagis I. e. professional trackers) are still retained for 
the protection of property : but the highways and bazaars 
are now orderly and quiet, and robberies much less 
frequent."^ The authoress admitted, however, that the 
Esplanade — particularly the portion- of it occupied by the 

1. Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island, Vol, II, p. 1 46-7. 

2. S. T. Sheppard, The Byculla Club, p. 5. 

3. Mrs. Postans, Western India in 1838, Vol. I, p. 27. The Pagis 
received about Rs. 7 a month for prowling about the com- 
pounds of bouses by night. 



32 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

tents of military cadets — was the resort of *' a clique of 
dexterous plunderers," who during the night used to cast 
long hooks into the tents and so withdraw all the loose 
articles and personal efifects within reach/ The pre- 
valence of more serious crime is indicated by her remarks 
about the Bhandari toddy-drawers :— • 

" It appears that in many cases of crime brought to 
the notice of the Bombay magistracy, evidence 
which has condemned the accused has been elicited 
from a Bundarrie, often sole witness of the culprit's 
guilt. Murderers, availing themselves of the last 
twilight ray to decoy their victims to the closest 
depths of the palmy woods and there robbing 
them of the few gold or silver ornaments they 
might possess, have little thought of the watchful 
toddy-drawer, in his lofty and shaded eyry."* 

That the improvement was not very marked is also 
proved by the fact that in 1839, the year after Mrs. Postans* 
visit, the Bench of Justices increased their contribution to 
Government for police charges to Rs. 10,000, the 
additional cost being declared necessary owing to the 
rapid expansion of the occupied urban area, and to the 
grave inadequacy of the force for coping with crime. So 
far as watch and ward duties were concerned, the police 
must have welcomed the first lighting of the streets 
with oil-lamps in 1 843. Ten years later there were said 
to be 50 lamps in existence, which were lighted from 
dusk to midnight, and the number continued to increase 
until October, 1865, when the first gas-lamps were lighted 
in the Esplanade and Bhendy Bazar. On the other hand 
drunkenness was a fruitful source of crime, and the 
number of country liquor-shops was practically unlimited. 
**On a moderate computation" wrote Mrs. Postans 
" every sixth shop advertises the sale of toddy." With 
such facilities for intoxication, crime was scarcely likely 
to decrease. 

1. Ibid, Vol. II, p. 222. 

2. Mrs. Postans, Western India in 1838, Vol. I, p. 92. 



n THE RISE OF THE MAGISTRACY 1800-1855 33 

But other and deeper reasons existed for the unsatis- 
factory state of the public peace and security. Through- 
out the whole of the period from 1800 to 1850, and in a 
milder form till the establishment of the High Court in 
1861, there was constant friction, occasionally of an acute 
character, between the Supreme Court and the Company^s 
government and officials. Moreover, the original intention 
of the Crown that the Supreme Court should act as 
a salutary check upon the Company's administration 
was frustrated by several periods of interregnum 
between 1828 and 1855, the Court being represented 
frequently by only one Judge and on one occasion being 
entirely closed owing to the absence of judges. This 
antagonism between the highest judicial tribunal and the 
executive authority could not fail to react unfavourably 
on the subordinate machinery of the administration, and 
coupled with inadequacy of numbers, insufficiency of 
pay, and a general lack of integrity in the Police force 
itself, may be held to have been largely responsible for 
the comparative freedom enjoyed by wrong-doers and 
their manifest contempt for authority. 

Contemporary records indicate that the Police Office 
at this period (1800-1850) was located in the Fort ; the 
court of the Senior Magistrate of Police was housed in a 
building in Forbes Street, and the court of the Second 
Magistrate in a house in Mazagon. The powers of both 
Magistrates were limited, and all cases involving 
sentences of more than six months* imprisonment, or 
affecting property valued at more than Rs. 50, had to be 
sent to the Court of Petty Sessions or committed to 
the Recorder's, subsequently the Supreme Court. 
The Court of Petty Sessions was composed of the two 
Magistrates of Police and a Justice of the Peace (the 
Superintendent-General of Sir J. Mackintosh's draft Regu- 
lation), and sat every Monday morning at 10 a. m. at the 
Police Office in the Fort. The constitution of this Court 
was afterwards amended by Rule, Ordinance and Regu- 
lation I of 1834, which, though not registered in the 
S 



34 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

Supreme Court as required by Act XLVII, Geo. Ill, was 
subsequently legalized by India Act VII of 1836. By 
that Ordinance the Court was composed of not less than 
three Justices of the Peace, one of whom was a Magis- 
trate of Police, the second was a European, and the 
third was a Native of India, not born of European parents. 
It remained in existence, with extended powers, until the 
year 1877, when, together with three Magistrates of 
Police, it was superseded by the Presidency Magistrates 
Act. 

A word may here be said on the subject of the well- 
known uniform of the Bombay constabulary, the bright 
yellow cap and the dark blue tunic and knickers, which 
once caused a wag to style the Bombay police- 
sepoy *' the empty black bottle with the yellow seal." 
The origin of the uniform is obscure ; but it was certainly 
in use in 1838, for Mrs. Postans describes the dress of 
the men as " a dark blue coat, black belt, and yellow 
turban."^ An illustration in The Adventures of Qui-Hi, 
entitled " A Night in Dongri," shows that the uniform 
was worn at a still earlier date. In the background of 
the picture two persons are obviously having an 
altercation with a police-constable, and the latter is 
depicted wearing the flat yellow cap and blue uniform 
familiar to every modern resident of Bombay. The 
dress of the constabulary must therefore have been 
adopted at some date prior to 1816, and it is probably a 
legitimate inference that it dates back to the reorgani- 
zation of 1812, and was possibly adapted from an 
older dress worn at the end of the eighteenth century. 
In any case the distinctive features of the dress of the 
Bombay police-constable of to-day are well over one 
hundred years old. 

When Thomas Holloway relinquished the office of 

High Constable in 1829, his place was taken by one 

Jose Antonio, presumably a Portuguese Eurasian, who 

had been serving as Constable to the Court of Petty 

I. Mrs. Postans, Western India in 1838, Vol. I, p. 27. 




Police Constable 
Bombay City 



II THE RISE OF THE MAGISTRACY 1800-185S 35 

Sessions. Jose Antonio seems to have performed the 
duties of executive police officer until 1835, when Captain 
Shortt was appointed "Superintendent of Police and 
Surveyor etc. etc". Between 1829 and 1855 the following 
officials were responsible for the police administration 
of Bombay : — 



Period 

of 
Office 


Senior 
Magistrate 


Junior 
Magistrate 


Constable 

or 

Supdt. of Police 


1829-33 


J. D. de Vitr^ 


H. Gray 


Jose Antonio 


1834 


J. Warden 
J. Warden 


Do. 

H. WilUs 


Do. 




Supdt. of Police 


1835-39 


Capt. Shortt 


1840 


J. Warden 


E. F. Danvers 


Capt. Burrows 


1841-45 


P. W. Le Geyt 


Do. 


Do. 


1846 


G. L. Farrant 


Do. 


Capt. W. Curtis 


1847-48 


G. Grant 


Do. 


Do. 


1849 


Do. 


Do. 


Capt E. Baynes 


1850-51 


A.Spens 


Do. 


Do. 


1852-53 


Do. 


L. C C. Rivett 


Do. 


1854-55 


A. K. Corfield 


T. Thornton 


Do. 



It will be apparent from this list that from 1 835 to 
1855 the executive control of the Police force was 
entrusted to a series of junior officers belonging to the 
Company's military forces, who probably possessed little 
or no aptitude for police work, were poorly paid for their 
services, and had no real encouragement to make their 
mark in civil employ. Consequently, despite increased 
expenditure on the force, these military Superintendents 
of Police secured very little control over the criminal 



36 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

classes, and effected no real improvement in the morale 
of their subordinates. In 1844, for example, a succession 
of daring robberies was carried .out in the Harbour by 
gangs of criminals, who sailed round in boats from 
Back Bay, The most notorious of them was known as 
the Bandar Gang^ ; and their unchecked excesses led to 
the formation of a separate floating police-force under the 
control of a Deputy Superintendent on Rs. 500 a month. 
House-breaking was of daily occurrence in Colaba, 
Sonapur, Kalbadevi and Girgaum,^ and constant 
complaints of dishonesty among the European constables 
and of the gross inefficiency of the native rank and file 
were made to the authorities by both public bodies and 
private residents.^ Corruption was prevalent in all ranks 
of the force, and most of the subordinate officers, both 
European and Indian, were in secret collusion with agents 
and go-betweens, some of them members of the higher 
Hindu castes, who assisted their acts of extortion and 
blackmail and shared with them the proceeds of their 
venality. Bands of ruffians infested the thoroughfares 
and lanes of the native city, and no respectable resident 
dared venture unprotected into the streets after nightfall. 
The period immediately preceding the year of the 
Mutiny was also remarkable for two serious breaches of 
the public peace. The earlier occurred at Mahim in 1850, 
on the last day of the Muharram festival, in consequence 
of a dispute between two factions of the Khoja 
community, and resulted in the murder of three men and 
the wounding of several others.* The later riots broke out 
in October, 1851, between the Parsis and Muhammadans, 
in consequence of a very indiscreet article on the 
Muhammadan religion which was published in the 
Gujarati, a Parsi newspaper. The Muhammadans, 
incensed at the statements made about the Prophet, 

1. Bombay Times, Feb. 22, 1845. 

2. Ibid., July 31, 1844. 

3 Report of Bombay Chamber of Commerce, 1854-5$, PP« ll» 12. 
4. Bombay Times, December 14th, 1850. 



n THE RISE OF THE MAGISTRACY 1800-1855 37 

gathered at the Jama Masjid on October l/th in very 
large numbers, and after disabling a small police patrol, 
stationed there to keep the peace, commenced attacking 
the Parsis and destroying their property. The public- 
conveyance stables at Paidhoni, which at that date 
belonged to Parsis, were wrecked, liquor-shops were 
broken open and rifled, shops and private houses were 
pillaged. Captain Baynes, the Superintendent of Police, 
and Mr. Spens, the Senior Magistrate, managed with a 
strong force to disperse the main body of rioters, capturing 
eighty-five of them : but towards evening, as there were 
signs of a fresh outbreak and the neighbourhood of 
Bhendy Bazaar was practically in a state of siege, the 
garrison-troops were marched down to Mumbadevi and 
thence distributed in pickets throughout the area of 
disturbance. This action finally quelled the rioting, and 
the annual Muharram festival, which commenced ten 
days later, passed off without any untoward incident.^ 

In the year 1855 the post of Senior Magistrate was 
held by Mr. Corfield, Messrs. T. Thornton and N. W. 
Oliver being respectively Junior and Third Magistrates. 
In that year the public outcry against the police had 
become so great, and the general insecurity had been 
reflected in so constant a series of crimes against person 
and property, that Lord Elphinstone*s government 
determined to institute a searching enquiry into the 
whole subject. With this object they appointed to the 
immediate command of the force in 1856 Mr. Charles 
Forjett, who was serving at the moment as Deputy Super* 
intendent. Through his energy and activity, they were 
able to satisfy themselves fully of the prevalence of 
wholesale corruption in the force. Drastic executive 
action was at once taken ; and this was followed by the 
drafting and promulgation of Act XIII of 1856 for the 
future constitution and regulation of the Police Force. 
At the same time Mr. Corfield was succeeded as Senior 
Magistrate by Mr. W. Crawford. The credit for the 
I. Bombay Tinust October 18, 1851. 



38 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

introduction of the reforms and for the restoration of 
public confidence belongs wholly to Charles Forjett, 
whose successful administration during a period fraught 
with grave political dangers deserves to be recorded 
in a separate chapter. His appointment in 1855 may be 
said to inaugurate the regime of the professional police 
ofl&cial as distinguished from the purely military officer, 
and to mark the final disappearance of an antiquated 
system, under which inefficiency and crime flourished 
exceedingly. Henceforth a new standard of adminis- 
tration was imposed, whereby the Bombay Police Force 
was enabled to maintain the public peace effectively and 
also to acquire by degrees a larger share of the confi- 
dence and co-operation of the general body of citizens.^ 

I. Report on the Administration of Public Affairs in the Bombay 
Presidency for 1855-56, *' During the year 1855 great reforms 
have been effected in the Police within the jurisdiction of His 
Majesty's Supreme Court. Complaints were made by the 
Chamber of Commerce of the venality of the European 
constables and of the inefficiency of the general force. These 
complaints, and other circumstnces which induced suspicion, 
determined Government to place in immediate command of 
the Police, Mr. Forjett, the most active and efficient of the 
Mofussil Superintendents, a gentleman who had once been a 
Foujdar, and who had risen to high and responsible ap- 
pointments, solely through his own remarkable energy, acuteness 
and ability. An enquiry by this gentleman soon showed the 
existence of corruption among the European Constables, a 
corruption which impaired the efficiency of the whole force. 
A considerable number were summarily dismissed, and a 
thorough reform in Police arrangements throughout the Island 
was commenced by the new Superintendent. These are still 
in progress: but the Government has been assured that a 
feeling of entire security as to life and property is now enter- 
tained by all classes of the community." 



CHAPTER m 

Mr. Charles Forjett 
1855-1863 



Charles Foriett\ who was appointed Superintendent 
of Police in 1855. was of Eurasian ( now styled Anglo- 
Indian ) parentage and was brought up in India. His 
father was an oflScer of the old Madras Fort Artillery and 
had been wounded at the capture of Seringapatam in 
1799. In Our Real Danger in India, which he published in 
1877, some few years after his retirement, Forjett states 
that he served the Bombay Government for forty years, 
first as a topographical surveyor and then successively as 
ofiScial translator in Marathi and Hindustani, Sheriff, head 
of the Poona police, subordinate and chief uncovenanted 
assistant judge, superintendent of police in the Southern 
Maratha Country, and finally as Commissioner of Police, 
Bombay. He first earned the favourable notice of the 
Bombay Government by his reform and reorganization 
of the police in the Belgaum division of the Southern 
Maratha Country; and there is probably considerable 
justification for his own statement that the peace and 
security of the southern districts of the Presidency during 
the period of the Mutiny were chiefly due to his 
constructive work in this direction. 

He owed his later success as a police-officer to three 
main factors, namely his great linguistic faculty, his wide 
knowledge of Indian caste-customs and habits, and his 
masterly capacity for assuming native disguises. Born 

I. Mr. B. Aitken in Old and New Bombay states that Forjett was 
partly of French descent, and that the family name was 
originally Forget. Owing to constant mispronunciation, Forjett 
eventually anglicised the name in the form now familiar to 
students of Bombay history. 



40 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

and bred in India, he had learnt the vernaculars of the 
Bombay Presidency in his youth, and had been 
familiar from his earliest years with those subtle 
differences of belief and custom which the average 
home-bred Englishman knows nothing about and can 
never master. His black hair and sallow complexion — in 
brief, the strong ** strain of the country " in his blood — 
enabled him, when disguised, to pass among natives of 
India as one of themselves. A story is told to illustrate 
his powers of disguise. He once told the Governor, 
Lord Elphinstone, that in spite of special orders prohibit- 
ing the entrance of any one and in defiance of the strongest 
military cordon that His Excellency could muster, he 
would effect his entrance to Government House, Parel, 
and appear at the Governor's bedside at 6 a. m. . Lord 
Elphinstone challenged him to fulfil his boast and took 
every precaution to prevent his ingress. Nevertheless 
Forjett duly appeared the following morning in the 
Governor's bedroom— in the disguise of a mehtar 
( sweeper ). With these special qualifications for police 
work were combined a strong will and great personal 
courage. 

Forjett's fame rests mainly upon his action during 
the Mutiny, and one is apt to overlook the great but less 
sensational services which he rendered to Government 
and the public in subduing lawlessness and crime in 
Bombay. As mentioned in the previous chapter, he was 
serving as Assistant or Deputy Superintendent of Police 
for some few months before Lord Elphinstone placed him 
in control of the force, and during that period he set 
himself to test the extent of the corruption which was 
believed to prevail widely among all ranks. By means 
of his disguises he managed to get into close touch with 
the men who were acting as go-betweens and receivers 
of bribes, and even dined with one of them, a high-caste 
Hindu, without betraying his identity. Through these 
men he also contrived on various occasions to test the 
integrity of individual members of the force. In con- 



m MR. CHARLES FORJETT 4I 

sequence he was able in a very short time to expose the 
whole system of corruption and to furnish Government 
with the evidence they required for a drastic purging of 
the upper and lower grades. 

That duty accomplished, he turned his attention to 
the criminal classes.^ " At a time " wrote the late Mr. 
K. N. Kabraji in his Reminiscences of Fifty Years Ago, 
" when the public safety was quite insecure, when the 
city was infested by desperate gangs of thieves and 
other malefactors, Forjett had to use all his wonderful 
energy and acumen to break their power and rid the city of 
their presence. He strengthened and reformed the Police, 
which had been powerless to cope with them. There 
was a notorious band of athletic ruffians in Bazar Gate 
Street, consisting chiefly of Parsis. They used to 
occupy some rising ground, from which they swooped 
down on their prey. Their daily acts of crime and 
violence were committed with impunity, and their names 
were whispered by mothers to hush their children to 
silence. 

"I may here give a personal instance of the insecurity 
of the times. As I was returning one night with my 
father from the Grant Road theatre in a carriage, a ruffian 
prowling about in the dark at Falkland road snatched my 
gold-embroidered cap and ran away with it. The road had 
been newly built and ran through fields and waste land. 
Khetwadi, as its name implies, was also an agricultural 
district. Grant road, Falkland road and Khetwadi were 
then lonely places on the outskirts of the City, and it is 
no wonder that wayfarers in these localities could never 
be secure of purse or person. But on the Esplanade, 
under the very walls of the Fort, occurred instances of 
violence and highway robbery, which went practically 
unchecked. Not a few of the offenders were soldiers. 
They used to lie in wait for a likely carriage with a rope 
thrown across the road, so that the horse stumbled and 
fell, and then they rifled the occupants of the carriage at 
I. See General Adm. Report, Bombay, 1855-56 and 1858-59, 



42 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

their leisure. It was Mr. Forjett, whose vigilance and 
activity brought all this crying scandal to an end."^ 

The rapid change for the better which followed 
Forjett's appointment to the office of Superintendent is 
illustrated by the fact that whereas in 1855 only 23 per 
cent of property stolen was recovered, in 1856 the 
percentage had risen to 59. Mr. W. Crawford, " Senior 
Magistrate of Police and Commissioner of Police", 
in his annual return of crime for the year 1859 
remarked that "the total continued absence of gang 
and highway robbery is most satisfactory ", and drew 
pointed attention to the efficiency of the *' executive 
branch of the police" under Mr. Forjett.^ In the 
following year, i860, there were only three cases of 
burglary, and although the value of property 
stolen amounted to Rs. 187,000, the police managed to 
recover property worth Rs. 73,000. Serious offences against 
the person also seem to have decreased in number during 
Forjett*s regime. The Senior Magistrate observed with 
satisfaction that " the debasing spectacle of a public 
execution was not called for" during the year 1859; and 
such records as still exist of the later years of Forjett*s 
administration point to the same conclusion.s 

It must not be assumed, however, that this period 
lacked causes celehres, A brief reference to a few of 
the more important cases will serve to show the varied 
character of the enquiries carried out by the Police. In 
i860 a European seaman, the chief mate of the Lady 
Canning^ was arraigned before the Supreme Court for an 
attempt to administer poison to the Master and three 
others belonging to the vessel. The chief witness for 
the prosecution, however, though bound by recognizances 

1. Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island, Vol. II, p. 244. 

2. The Annual Adra. Rep. Bombay Pres. for 1858-59 mentions that 
only one case of burglary had occurred in that year and that 
*' robberies with violence have entirely disappeared ". 

3. Annual Police Returns, showing state of crime, for 1859-61. 
( India Office Records ). 



m MR. CHARLES FORJETT 43 

to appear at the trial, sailed from Bombay before the 
proceedings commenced and could not be brought back. 
The prisoner was therefore acquitted. In the same year 
a Bene-Israel and two Hindus were convicted of piracy 
at the Sessions and sentenced to seven years* trans- 
portation, for having plundered a vessel at anchor off 
Alibag of ten thousand rupees in silver. In l86l a Parsi 
contractor was committed for trial on a charge of 
manslaughter. He was in charge of the work of digging 
foundations for a new cotton-spinning mill in Tardeo 
(probably one of Sir Dinshaw Petit*s mills), when an 
accident occurred in which five men lost their lives. 
The contractor was held to have shown a culpable 
lack of caution ; but the Grand Jury threw out the bill 
against him, and further action was abandoned. A more 
famous case in the same year was the Bhattia Conspiracy 
Trial, connected with the famous Maharaja Libel 
Case of 1862, in which Gokuldas Liladhar and eight 
other Bhattias were accused of conspiracy to obstruct 
and defeat the course of justice, by intimidating 
witnesses and preventing them from giving evidence in 
the libel-suit brought by Jadunathji Brijratanji Maharaj 
against Karsondas Mulji and Nanabhai Ranina, editor 
and printer respectively of the Satya Prakash} Forjett 
and one of his European constables, George Gahagan, 
gave evidence before the Supreme Court of the meeting 
of the conspirators. The accused were found guilty, 
and Sir Joseph Arnould sentenced the two leading 
members of the conspiracy to a fine of Rs. lOOO apiece, 
and the rest to a fine of Rs. 500 each. There was con- 
siderable disturbance in Court when these sentences 
were pronounced. 

Forjett served as Superintendent of Police until the 
end of 1863 or the early part of 1864, with a period of 
leave to Europe in i860, during which his work was 
carried on by Mr. Dunlop, Deputy Superintendent in 

I. Report of the Maharaja Libel Case, Bombay Gazette Presst l862> 



44 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

charge of the Harbour or Water Police.^ In addition to 
his duties as head of "the executive police," he was a 
member of the old Board of Conservancy (1845-1858), 
and later one of the triumvirate of Municipal Com- 
missioners, established by Act XXV of 1858, which was 
responsible for the entire conservancy and improvement 
of the town of Bombay until its supersession in 1865 by 
a full-time Municipal Commissioner and the body 
corporate of the Justices. It was in this capacity that 
Forjett in 1 863 conceived and inaugurated the project of 
converting the old dirty and dusty Cotton Green into 
what later generations know as the Elphinstone Circle. 
The scheme was warmly supported in turn by Lord 
Elphinstone and Sir Bartle Frere. The Municipal 
Commissioners bought up the whole site and resold 
it at a considerable profit in building-lots to English 
business firms; and by the end of 1865, two years after 
Forjett had proposed the scheme, the Elphinstone 
Circle was practically completed and ready for 
occupation.* 

In addition to regular police duties, the Superin- 
tendent of Police at this date was also in charge of the Fire 
Brigade— an arrangement which lasted until 1888, and 
which accounts for the fact that an annual return of fires 
signed by Forjett and his successor formed a regular 
feature of the annual crime return submitted to Govern- 
ment by the Senior Magistrate of Police. The officers 
and men of the brigade were members of the regular 
police force, the European officers performing both 
police and fire-brigade duties and the Indian ranks being 
restricted to fire-duty only.* 

1. Dunlop had been 3rd Assistant to the Master Attendant of the 
Government Dockyard, and was appointed head of the Water 
Police in 1844. Prior to that year no proper water police force 
was in existence. 

2. Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island, Vol. Ill, 252; Times of 
India, January 2nd, 1865; Annual Adm. Rep, Bombay Presi- 
dency, 1862-63. 

3. Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island, Vol. Ill, 49. 



m Mr. CHARLES FORJETT 45 

During Mr. Forjett's tenure of office, the post of 
Senior Magistrate was held by Mr. W. Crawford, between 
whom and the Superintendent of Police the most 
amicable relations existed. The position of both officials 
was considerably strengthened by the passing of Act 
XLVIII of i860, amending Act XIII of 1856, which gave 
the police wider powers for the regulation and prevention 
of nuisances, and enabled the magistracy to deal prompt- 
ly and effectively with offences to which the old Act of 
1856 did not extend.^ 

The period of the Mutiny (1857) was fraught with 
anxiety for the English residents of Bombay. Between 
May and September rumours and hints of the probability 
of a rising of the native population were constantly 
disseminated, and more than one Indian of standing 
narrowly escaped arrest for treason as the result of false 
complaints laid before the authorities by interested 
parties. Among those thus secretly impeached was the 
famous millionaire, Mr. Jagannath Shankarshet (1804-65), 
who might well have succumbed to the attacks of his 
accusers, had the Governor, Lord Elphinstone, been less 
calm, circumspect and resolute. Jagannath's guilt was 
firmly believed in by several influential Englishmen, who 
brought their views to the notice of the Governor. He 
instructed Forjett to investigate the matter ; and the 
latter was able to prove that the charges were wholly with- 
out foundation.* The belief in Jagannath's treasonable 
dealings with the mutineers in Bengal may perhaps have 
resulted from action taken by Forjett immediately after 
the outbreak of the Mutiny. In the garden of Jagannath 
Shankarshet's mansion was a large rest-house or 
dharamshala intended for the accommodation of 
wandering Brahman mendicants, who during the day 
begged food and alms in the town. Sanyasis and Bhikshuks 
from all parts of India visited this rest-house, bringing 

1. Annual Crime Return, i860 ; Gazetteer of Bombay City and 
Island, Vol. II, 244. 

2. Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island, Vol. II, p. 157. 



46 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

all kinds of information of events in Bengal and the 
upper Provinces : and Forjett lost no time in placing an 
intelligent up-country Brahman, disguised as a mendi- 
cant, on detective duty in the dharamshala. It is quite 
possible that this plan may have been partly responsible 
for the rumour that Jagannath was in collusion with 
the infamous Nana Saheb. On the other hand the 
detective must have supplied Forjett with much of the 
evidence which enabled him to disprove the Hindu 
millionaire's complicity in the Sepoy rebellion.^ 

At this date the military forces in Bombay 
comprised three native regiments and one British force 
of 400 men under the command of Brigadier Shortt. The 
native troops were implicitly trusted by their officers, 
and the chief danger apprehended by the Bombay 
Government was from the Muhammadan population of 
the city, which numbered about 150,000. Forjett from 
the first combated this view and wrote a special letter to 
the Governor's Private Secretary, warning him that the 
main danger was from the troops. His own inquiries 
had convinced him that the townspeople would not rise 
unless the native regiments gave them the lead, and that 
the latter were planning mutiny. Much to the disgust of 
General Shortt, he made no secret of his views, declaring 
that the sepoys were the real potential source of 
disturbance and danger. Forjett's own force consisted 
of 60 European police and a number of Indian constables ; 
but on the fidelity of the latter he could not implicitly 
rely. Consequently, after news reached Bombay of the 
disasters at Cawnpore and other centres, he obtained 
Lord Elphinstone's special permission to enrol a body of 
50 European mounted police.* 

Meanwhile the Muharram, which was always an 
occasion of anxiety and frequently of disturbance, was 

1. C. Forjett, Our Real Danger in India^ 1B77 ; Bombay Gazettet 
December 25th, 1907. 

2. C. Forjett, Our Real Danger in India, 1877 ; Holmes, History of 
the Indian Mutiny, 



m MR. CHARLES FORJETT 47 

drawing near. The plans made by the Government for 
maintaining order involved the division of the European 
troops and police into small parties, which were posted 
in various parts of the town/ Forjett disapproved 
wholly of this arrangement, as no considerable body of 
European troops or police would be at hand to quell a 
mutiny of the sepoys, which was certain to break out 
in the neighbourhood of their barracks. He was 
naturally not empowered to revise the arrangement of the 
military forces; but he definitely informed Lord 
Elphinstone that he felt bound to disobey the orders for 
the distribution of the police. " It is a very risky thing", 
said the Governor, ** to disobey orders ; but I am sure 
you will do nothing rash. "^ 

Despite the risk, Forjett disobeyed the orders and 
concentrated all his efforts on outwitting the plotters. 
He summoned a meeting of the leading Muhammadans 
and addressed them in very strong terms on the subject 
of fomenting disorder — a step which earned Lord 
Elphinstone's personal commendation. Then, night 
after night, both before and during the celebration of the 
festival, he wandered about the city in disguise, and 
whenever he heard anyone speaking of the mutineers* 
successes in other parts of India in anything like a 
tone of exultation, he arrested him on the spot. A 
whistle brought up three or more of his detective 
police, who took charge of the culprit and marched 
him off to the lock-up. The bad characters of the 
town were so much alarmed by these mysterious arrests, 
which seemed to indicate that the authorities knew all 
that was afoot, that they relinquished their plans for 
an outbreak. In his dealings with the hadmash element, 
Forjett received valuable assistance from the Kazi of 

1. Apparently it was customary during the Muharram festival in the 
* fifties of last century to post a body of 200 Europeans in ** the 
Bhendy Bazar stables ". Presumably additional European police 
were brought in from Poona and other districts. The Muharram 
danger was Anally eradicated in 1912. 

2. The Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island, Vol. II, 158. 



48 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

Bombay, from a Muhammadan Subehdar of police, and 
from an Arab with whom he used, when disguised, to visit 
mosques, cofifee-shops, and other places of popular resort.'^ 
The Muharram would have ended peacefully but for 
the stupidity of a drunken Christian drummer, belonging 
to one of the native regiments, who towards the end of 
the festival insulted a religious procession of Hindus by 
knocking down the idol which they were escorting. He 
was at once arrested and locked up. The men of his 
regiment, incensed at the action of the police, whom they 
detested on account of Forjett's known distrust of 
themselves, hurried to the lock-up, released the drummer 
and carried him ofif, together with two police-guards, to 
their lines. An English constable and four Indian police- 
sepoys, who went to demand the surrender of the 
drummer and the release of their two comrades, were 
resisted by force. A struggle ensued, and the police had 
to fight their way out, leaving two of their number 
seriously wounded. The excitement was intense, and the 
sepoys of the native regiments were bent upon breaking 
out of their lines. On receiving news of the disturbance, 
Forjett galloped to the scene, leaving orders for his 
assistant, Mr. Edginton, and the European police to follow 
him. He found the native troops trying to force their 
way out of the lines, and their officers with drawn swords 
endeavouring to hold them back. At the sight of Forjett 
the anger of the men rose to white heat. **For God's 
sake Mr. Forjett," cried the officers, " go away ". " If 
your men are bent on mischief" was the reply, "the 
sooner it is over the better." The sepoys hesitated, 
while Forjett sat on his horse confronting them. A 
minute or two later Mr. Edginton and fifty-four European 
police rode up ; and Forjett cried, " Throw open the 
gates. I am ready for them." The native troops were 
unprepared for this prompt action, and judging 
discretion to be the better part of valour, remained in 
their lines and gradually recovered their senses.^ 

1. C. Forjett, Our Real Danger in India, 1877. 

2. Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island, Vol. II, 158-9, 



in MR. CHARLES FORJETT 49 

But the trouble, though scotched, was not killed. 
A few days later Forjett erected a gibbet in the 
compound of the Police Office, summoned the chief 
citizens whom he knew to be disaffected, and, pointing 
to the gibbet, warned them that on the slightest sign that 
they meditated an outbreak, they would be seized and 
hanged. This forcible demonstration had the desired 
effect. Forjett had quashed all chance of a rising in the 
bazar. But the danger from the native troops remained. 
Forjett redoubled his detective activities and soon 
discovered that a number of them were regularly holding 
secret meetings in the house of one Ganga Prasad, who 
had gained the confidence of the sepoys in the triple 
r61e of priest, devotee and physician.^ Forjett had this 
man arrested and induced him to confess all he knew. 
The next night he went in disguise to the house in 
Sonapur ( Dhobi Talao ) and listened to the sepoys' 
conversation. He learnt that they intended to mutiny 
during the Hindu festival of Divali in October, pillage 
the city, and then escape from the Island. He reported 
the facts at once to the military officers, who received 
them with incredulity. But Forjett eventually persuaded 
Major Barrow, the commandant of one of the regiments, 
to accompany him in disguise to the house and hear the 
details of the plot from a convenient hiding-place. 
Major Barrow was convinced and reported the facts to 
General Shortt, who exclaimed :— "Mr. Forjett has caught 
us at last I " Court-martials were promptly held : the two 
ringleaders—a native officer of the Marine Battalion 
and a private of the loth N. I. — were blown from guns on 
the Esplanade, and six of their accomplices were trans- 
ported for life. According to James Douglas, thirty men 
deserved the same fate as the ringleaders, but owed 
their reprieve to the clemency of Lord Elphinstone.^ 

Thus by his energy, courage and detective ability 
did Forjett save Bombay from a mutiny of the garrison, 

1. C. Forjett, Our Real Danger in India, 

2. Douglas, Bombay and W, India, 1, 211, 
7 



50 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

His services had more than local effect, for in Lord 
Elphinstone's opinion, if the Mutiny in Bombay had been 
successful, nothing could have saved Hyderabad, Poena 
and the rest of the Presidency, and after that " Madras 
was sure to go too/' ^ The formal thanks of the Bombay 
Government were conveyed to Forjett in a letter from 
the Secretary, Judicial Department, No. i68l of May 
23rd, 1859, nearly six months after the Queen's Procla- 
mation announcing the end of the East India Company's 
rule. The words of the letter were as follows: — 

"The Right Honourable the Governor in Council 
avails himself of this opportunity of expressing his sense 
of the very valuable services rendered by the Deputy 
Commissioner of Police,^ Mr. Forjett, in the detection 
of the plot in Bombay in the autumn of 1857. His duties 
demanded great courage, great acuteness, and great 
judgment, all of which qualities were conspicuously 
displayed by Mr. Forjett at that trying period." 

The scars left by the Mutiny in India were barely 
healed, when Bombay entered upon that extraordinary 
era of prosperity, engendered by the outbreak of the 
American Civil war and the consequent stoppage of the 
American cotton-supply, which gave her in five years 81 
millions sterling more than she had regarded in previous 
years as a fair price for her cotton, and which eventually 
led, after a period of great inflation, to the financial 
disasters of 1 865. An enormous influx of population took 
place ; the occupied area rapidly expanded ; and the 

1. C Forjett, Our Real Danger in India, 

2. The use of the phrase " Deputy Commissioner of Police " is 
explained by the fact that, strictly speaking, the Senior Magistrate 
was at this date Commissioner of Police, and Forjett as head of the 
''executive police" was his Deputy. Forjett in his book speaks of 
himself as Commissioner of Police : but this title was not given to 
the head of the force till 1865 In the Senior Magistrate's 
Annual Crime Return for i860 Forjett is styled Superintendent 
of Police : but in his evidence before the Supreme Court in the 
Bhattia Conspiracy Case, Forjett stated, *' In my official capacity 
as Deputy Commissioner of Police, I received a letter." 



m MR. CHARLES FORJETT 51 

burden thrown upon the police force, which was numeri- 
cally inadequate, must have been excessive. It redounds 
to Forjett's credit that in spite of all difficulties, and in 
conjunction with his duties as a Municipal Commissioner 
in a time of feverish urban progress, he contrived to keep 
crime within reasonable bounds, and put an end finally 
to the hordes of ruffians who infested the skirts of the 
town and nightly lay in wait for passers-by.-^ 

The Indian merchants of Bombay were not slow to 
recognise his services to the city, and showed their 
gratitude for the security which he had afforded 
to them by presenting him in 1859 with an 
address, and subscribing at the same time " a sum of 
upwards of £1300 sterling for the purpose of offering 
to him a more enduring token of their esteem."^ That 
was not all. After his retirement to England early in 
1864, the Indian cotton-merchants sent him a purse of 
£1500, *' in token of their strong gratitude for one whose 
almost despotic powers and zealous energy had so 
quelled the explosive forces of native society that they 
seem to have become permanently subdued ;" while the 
Back Bay Reclamation Company, which was formed 
at the height of the share mania, allotted him five 
shares in his absence, and when the price reached a 
high point, sold them and sent him the proceeds in the 
form of a draft for £13,580.® These large sums, 
presented to Forjett after his final departure from India, 
form a striking testimony to the value of his work as a 
police-officer and to the great impression left by his 
personality upon Indians of all classes in Bombay. 

Forjett's services at the time of the Mutiny were 
separately acknowledged. From the public he received 
various addresses and a purse of £3,850, subscribed by 

1, In earlier days one of the chief haunts of these gangs was a deep 
hollow near the site of the present Arthur Crawford Market 
( J. M. Maclean, Guide to Bombayt 1902, p. 206. ) 

2. Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island, II, 244 ; Ann. Adm. Rep. 
Bombay Presidency, 1858— 59. 

3« C. Forjett, Our Real Danger in India^ 



52 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

both English and Indian residents. The Government, 
whose eulogy of his action has already been quoted, 
granted him an extra pension and also bestowed a 
commission in the Army upon his son, F. H. Forjett, who 
was in command of one of the native regiments in 
Bombay at the time of the great Hindu-Muhammadan 
riots of 1893.^ Yet Forjett is said to have regarded 
himself as slighted by Government in not having received 
from them any decoration.^ It certainly seems curious 
that so admirable a public servant should not have been 
rewarded with a Knighthood or admitted to one of the 
Orders of Chivalry. But in Forjett's day the Govern- 
ment bestowed decorations very sparingly, and it may 
have been thought that this faithful servant of the 
vanished East India Company was sufficiently recom- 
pensed by the grant of a commission to his son and 
by permission to accept the handsome pecuniary rewards 
offered to him by a grateful urban population. 

After his retirement, Forjett purchased a property 
near Hughenden, which he called ** Cowasjee Jehangir 
Hall" after the well-known Parsi philanthropist, who 
gave so largely to educational and charitable institutions 
in Western India.^ In 1877 he published Our Real 
Danger in India, in which he sought to explain the 
lesson of his own experience during the Mutiny and 
gave an account of the events of that period in Bombay. 
He died in London on January 27th 1890, but at what 
age is unknown, as the date of his birth has never been 
satisfactorily determined. He can hardly have been less 

1. F.H. Forjett Joined the 59th Foot in 1865 and in 1870 was trans- 
ferred to the Bombay Staff Corps. He served mostly in the 26th 
Bombay N. I., which in the " seventies " and " eighties " was 
known familiarly as the "Black Watch", owing to its having 
no less than three Eurasian British oflQcers, namely John Miles, 
the Commandant, a half-caste of dominating personality, John M. 
Heath and F. H. Forjett. 

2. C. E. Buckland, Dictionary of Indian Biography. 

3. J. Douglas, Bombay and Western India, I, 21 1, 



m MR. CHARLES FORJETT 53 

than thirty-five years of age when he was appointed 
Superintendent of the Bombay Police in 185S, and was 
possibly older. Sir Lees Knowles of Westwood, Pendle- 
bury, met him in 1886, and describes him at that date as 
" a man of middle height, with a very pale olive 
complexion, and highly nervous : he could not without 
shaking raise a glass of water to his lips.'*^ Forjett's 
pension was paid in rupees, and after the more or less 
permanent decline in the exchange-value of the rupee, 
he requested the British Government on more than one 
occasion to permit him to draw his pension in sterling, 
but failed to obtain sanction to his request. 

Here it is well to take leave of Charles Forjett, the 
first efficient chief that the Bombay Police ever had. 
One hesitates to imagine what might have happened in 
Bombay, if a man of less courage and ability had been 
in charge of the force in 1857 : and looking back upon 
all that he achieved during his nine years of office, one 
realizes why Lord Elphinstone trusted him so implicitly, 
and why the Indian and European public regarded him 
with so much respect and admiration. His name still 
lives in Forjett Street, a thoroughfare of minor importance 
leading from Cumballa hill into the mill-area of Tardeo. 
He himself will live for ever in the history of the ** First 
City in India " as the man who raised the whole tone of 
police administration, brought the criminal classes of 
Bombay for the first time under stem control, and saved 
the city from the horrors and excesses which must 
inevitably have attended a rebellion of the native 
garrison. 

Z. Letter to Morning Post, August 30th, 1921. 



CHAPTER IV 

Sir Frank Souter Kt., C.S.L 
1864— 1888 

Forjett was succeeded in 1 864 by Mr. Frank H. 
Souter, son of Captain Souter of the 44th Regiment who 
was a prisoner in Afghanistan in 1842. Mr. Souter 
had served as a volunteer against the rebels in the 
Nizam*s dominions in 1850, and was appointed Superin- 
tendent of Police, Dharwar, in 1854. During the Mutiny- 
he captured the rebel chief of Nargund, for which he 
received a sword of honour, and two years later (1859) 
was engaged in suppressing the Bhil brigands of the 
northern Deccan. This task he successfully completed 
by killing Bhagoji Naik, the notorious Bhil outlaw, and 
capturing his chief followers, showing on several 
occasions so much courage and resource that he was 
recommended for the Victoria Cross. He thus had 
several years of distinguished service to his credit before 
he assumed charge of the Bombay Police Force in 1864. 

The appointment of Mr. Souter, who was awarded 
the C.S.I, in 1868 and was knighted by H. R. H. the 
Prince of Wales in 1875, synchronized with a thorough 
revision of the strength of the force. As already stated, 
the period 1860-65 witnessed a phenomenal expansion 
of the town, in consequence of the great profits derived 
from the sale of cotton during the American Civil War. 
Much reclamation of land from the sea was carried out, 
the mill-industry throve apace, the town spread north- 
ward with amazing rapidity, and shoals of immigrants 
of all classes poured into Bombay in the hope of making 
a fortune or securing a livelihood from the many 
economic and industrial projects then floated. In the 
large army of workers that invaded the Island there 




SIR FRANK SOUTER 



IV Sir frank SOUTER 1864-1888 5S 

were naturally many persons of bad character and 
shady antecedents, who soon found their level among 
the criminal classes and helped to swell the crime- 
returns. It was obvious at the date of Mr. Forjett's 
retirement that the police-force had not been augmented 
pari passu with the growth of the population and the 
expansion of the residential area, and the Census of 
1864, carried out by the Health Officer under the in- 
struction of Sir Bartle Frere's government, proved 
beyond cavil that the force was quite inadequate to deal 
with the population of 816,562 then recorded. 

Accordingly in 1 864 Colonel Bruce, Inspector- 
General of Police with the Government of India, was 
despatched to Bombay to investigate local conditions and 
make recommendations for the future constitution of the 
force. His proposals, which were approved and adopted 
in 1865, were briefly the following. The total force was 
to number 1456, as he was "unable to perceive that the 
work could be done with fewer hands ", divided under 
the following main heads : — 

Land Police ... ... 1239 

Police Guards for Government buildings 116 
Harbour Police ... ,., loi 



Total ... 1456 

Besides these, there were 84 police for the Government 
Dockyard, who had existed for several years and were 
paid for by the Marine Department, and a few miscel- 
laneous police, who guarded municipal graveyards and 
burning-grounds and were paid for by the Municipal 
Commissioners. Neither these nor the Dock police were 
available for ordinary police work. Excluding the 
Harbour police, who numbered loi, the police force 
proper in 1865 was composed as follows : — 

Superintendents ... ... 6 

Inspectors ... ... ... 22 

Sub-Inspectors ... ... 12 



56 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

Jemadars ... ... ... 24 

Havildars ... ... ••• 62 

Men ... ... ..• ••• 1216 

Mounted Police ... ... 13 ^ 

These numbers were appreciably in excess of the 
total strength of the force in Mr. Forjetfs time and 
placed the Bombay police on a level with the forces 
maintained in the sister-towns of Calcutta and Madras. 

The office of Commissioner of Police dates also from 
Colonel Bruce's reorganization of 1865. He proposed 
that the appointments of Police Commissioner and Munici- 
pal Commissioner should be amalgamated : but this 
suggestion was very wisely negatived by Government. 
The senior officer of the police force was thenceforth 
made responsible solely for the police administration 
of the city, with the title of Police Commissioner, while 
under the new Municipal Act of 1865 the executive 
power and responsibility in municipal matters were 
vested in a Municipal Commissioner appointed for a 
term of three years. From this date, therefore, the Com- 
missioner of Police, though he still controlled the fire- 
brigade and sat on the Municipal Corporation as an 
elected or nominated member, ceased to exercise any 
official powers in regard to conservancy, rating, lighting 
and the water-supply. 

For the first thirteen years of Sir Frank Souter's 
tenure of office, the old system of Magistrates of Police 
and the Court of Petty Sessions continued unaltered. In 
1866, for example, when Sir F. Souter took furlough and 
Major Henderson was acting for him, the Senior Magistrate 
was Mr. J. P. Bickersteth, with Messrs. F. L. Brown 
and Dosabhai Framji Karaka as his colleagues. He was 
succeeded in turn by Mr. Barton, Mr. John Connon, in 
whose memory the John Connon High School was 
founded, and Mr. C. P. Cooper, who was in substantive 

1. Prior to 1865 there appear to have been 26 mounted police. 

2. First Annual Rep. of the Commissioner of Police, 1884 ; Gazet- 
teer of Bombay City and Island, II, 245. 



IV SIR FRANK SOUTER 1864-1888 57 

charge of the office at the time of the passing of the 
Presidency Magistrates Act IV of 1877. This Act 
abolished the Magistrates of Police and the Court of Petty- 
Sessions, and invested the Presidency Magistrates, who 
succeeded them, with powers to deal with all cases 
formerly committed to the Petty Sessions, and with a 
large number of cases formerly triable only by the High 
Court. Nevertheless the Chief Presidency Magistrate 
continued for a few years longer to submit an annual 
report to Government on the state of crime in Bombay, 
which contained inter alia a few returns, and occasionally 
a few remarks on undetected murder cases, by the 
Commissioner of Police. 

These annual reports of the Senior Magistrate, and 
later the Chief Presidency Magistrate, were doleful 
documents, consisting of a mass of figures relative to 
various classes of crime, and unrelieved, except on very 
rare occasions, by illuminating comment or interesting 
fact. The reviews by Government of these returns were 
little better. Occasionally an Under-Secretary would 
try to infuse life into the dry bones of the crime-tables, 
and suggest new avenues of inquiry : but in the end the 
figures, like the thorns of Holy Writ, sprang up and 
choked him, and he had to content himself with echoing 
the uninspired deductions of the magisterial bench. In 
1883 the Bombay Government decreed the abolition of 
these magisterial reports on the state of crime, and in 
the following year Sir Frank Souter, as Commissioner of 
Police, submitted the first annual report on the working 
of the Police in the Town and Island of Bombay. The 
change, though overdue, was none the less welcome, for 
the Commissioner, with his fingers on the pulse of the city, 
was in a position to supply more valuable information 
and lend a more human touch to the report than was 
possible so long as his annual review of police activity 
was confined to a list of fires and a table showing 
dismissals and resignations from the force. The Chief 

I. G. R. J. D. No. 5628 of August lOtb. 1883. 
8 



58 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

Presidency Magistrate, with a tenacity worthy of a better 
cause, continued to submit a return of crime until 1886, 
when Government ordered its discontinuance. Since that 
date the only annual report on police and crime has been 
furnished by the Commissioner, who is accustomed to 
forward it for remarks to the Chief Presidency Magistrate 
before submitting it to Government. 

During the later years of Sir Frank Souter's rigime 
the police force was seriously undermanned. Colonel 
Bruce's proposals had brought it to approximately the 
right strength in 1865, but the city continued to expand 
so rapidly that the numbers then deemed adequate no 
longer sufficed for the purposes of watch and ward. In 
1871 the force numbered 1473, of whom 285 were paid by 
Government and 1 188 by the Municipality, exclusive of 
396 men who did duty on the railways. In the following 
year the Senior Magistrate of Police, John Connon, 
remarked that " the European Police Force, though now 
too much reduced, is upon the whole a most respectable 
body of men, always ready for duty and capable of it. 
I can conscientiously say as much of numbers of natives 
of different ranks in the force.^'^ The reduction in 
numbers, to which he referred, apparently lasted for 
several years, the total strength of the force varying from 
1402 in 1873 to 1408 in 1877. In 1879 it had decreased still 
further to 1392 men, of whom 262 were classed as Govern- 
ment and I130 as municipal police (/. ^. paid by the 
Municipal Corporation). In 1881 the number paid for by 
Government had risen to 324, but the number of "munici- 
pal police *' was less by 58 than in 1871. The subject 
was alluded to by the Commissioner in his annual report 
of June 6th, 1885, and he emphasized the fact that, 
despite minor increases during the previous twenty years 
and in spite of a definite expansion of the scope and 
character of police-work, he was actually in command 
of loi men less than in 1865. 

I. Annual Crime Return, 1872. 




Armed Police Jamadar 
Bombay City 



IV Sir frank SOUTER 1864-1888 59 

In 1885 the Bombay Police Force was composed as 
follows : — 
ia) Land Police 

I Commissioner of Police 

I Deputy Commissioner of Police 

6 Superintendents 

36 Officers on Rs. 100 per month and over 
92 Officers on less than Rs. 100 per month 
1020 Constables 
(h) 98 Police guards for Government buildings 

(c) Harbour Police 

1 Superintendent 

13 Subordinate Officers 
87 Constables 

(d) Dockyard Police 

7 Subordinate Officers 
77 Constables 

{e) 5 Police-guards for distilleries 

(/) C. D. Act Police 

2 Subordinate Officers 
10 Constables 

(g) Prince's Dock Police 

6 Subordinate Officers 
44 Constables 
(h) 20 Constables at burning and burial grounds. 
The total cost of this force, including rent, contingen- 
cies, allowances and hospital expenses, was Rs. 475,297. 
The cost of the Land Police was borne by Government, 
the Municipal Corporation giving a fixed contri- 
bution towards it. The Corporation paid also for the 
constables posted at the burning and burial grounds. 
Government bore the whole cost of the Harbour Police, 
while the charges of the Prince's Dock Police were 
debited to the Port Trustees. 

While the force numbered loi less than in 1865, the 
population of Bombay had increased from 645,000 in 1872 
to 773,000 in 1881; while between 1872 and 1883 nearly 
4000 new dwelling-houses had been erected and 6^ miles 



6o THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

of new streets and roads had been thrown open to traffic. 
Again, whereas in Calcutta the percentage of police to 
population was I to 227, in Bombay the percentage was 
I to 506. In consequence the strain upon the men was 
excessive. Most of them worked both by day and night 
and obtained no proper rest : and this fact, coupled with 
the exiguous pay of Rs. 10 per month allotted to the 
lowest grade constable, injured recruitment and obliged 
the Commissioner to accept candidates of less than the 
standard height (5' 6") and chest-measurement. Sir Frank 
Souteralso remarked that only no officers and 297 men, 
out of the whole force, were able to read and write, that 
no provision for their education existed, and that even 
if it were provided, the men were so overworked that 
they would be unable to take advantage of it. He urged 
the Government to sanction an immediate increase of 
200 men in the lower ranks and to abolish the lowest 
grade of constable on Rs. lo per month, on the ground 
that this was not a living wage and compared unfavour- 
ably with the salaries obtainable in private employ. 
The Bombay Government, while admitting the force 
of the Commissioner's arguments, declared that financial 
stringency prevented their granting the whole increase 
required and therefore sanctioned the cost of an addition- 
al loi men, thus merely bringing the force up to the 
number declared to be necessary twenty years before. 

The total strength and cost of the force during the 
last four years of Sir Frank Souter*s regime were as 
follows :— 

Year. Number of all grades Annual Cost 

1885 1521 Rs. 475»297 

1886 1580 „ 493»ii6 

1887 1612 „ 510,690 

1888 1621 „ 505,135 
The small increase of lOO men between 1885 and 

1888 was absurdly disproportionate to the extra burden 
of work entailed by the growth of the mill-industry, by 
the growing demands of the public, and by the activity 



IV Sir frank SOUTER 1864-1888 61 

of the legislature. Among the additional duties de- 
volving on the Bombay police, which came prominently 
to notice after 1865, were the supervision of the weights 
and measures used by retail merchants and the prose- 
cution of those whose weights did not conform to the 
official standard. In 1873, 112 shop-keepers were 
prosecuted for this offence and all except six were 
convicted. A year later Government commented 
unfavourably on the small number of prosecutions under 
the Arms Act and instructed the Commissioner to 
exercise a much stricter supervision over the importation 
and unlicensed sale of arms and ammunition. The 
Contagious Diseases Act, which no longer exists, was 
also the source of much extra work and fruitless 
trouble. In 1 884 the Commissioner reported that there 
were 1435 women on the register, and ten years later 
1500. "I regret to say" he wrote in the course of a 
report submitted in the former year, "that in the 
existing state of the law the efforts of the Police to 
control contagious diseases are almost futile. Hundreds 
of women, who are well known to be carrying on 
prostitution in the most open manner, cannot be 
registered because Magistrates require evidence which it is 
next to impossible to obtain. " He added that the working 
of the Act involved a great deal of unnecessary 
expense, that the police were unable to discharge 
their duties satisfactorily, and that unless the hands of 
both the magistrates and the police were strengthened, 
it would be wiser to abolish the Act altogether. This 
view eventually found favour and, combined with strong 
pressure from other quarters, led to the abolition of the 
Act in July, 1888. A special staff of two officers and 
ten constables were released from an unpleasant task 
and were absorbed into the regular police force. 

In 1884 occurs the earliest reference by the Com- 
missioner to a matter which was destined to give him 
and his successors much additional work, namely the 
Haj or annual Muhammadan pilgrimage to Mecca. The 



63 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP, 

number of pilgrims passing through Bombay had 
reached nearly 8,000, and had necessitated the appoint- 
ment in 1882 of a Protector of Pilgrims and a regular 
system of passports. A Pilgrims Brokers* Act was also 
under consideration by the Indian legislature. Three 
years later, 1887, the task of issuing passports for 
Jeddah and selling steamer-tickets was entrusted to 
Messrs. Thomas Cook and Sons; but the success of this 
arrangement was discounted by the ignorance and 
helplessness of the pilgrims themselves, who failed to 
make full use of the facilities offered by the firm. 
The number of pilgrims passing annually through 
Bombay was far less than during the early years of 
the twentieth century : but their presence was never- 
theless responsible for the building of one musafirkhana 
in Pakmodia street in 1871 and of another in Frere road 
in 1884. The growth of the Haj traffic before the 
outbreak of the Great War in 1914 added immensely 
to the volume of work annually devolving upon the 
Police Commissioner, and acquired additional importance 
from the political significance given to it by Indian 
Moslem agitators. 

From time to time public interest was aroused 
during these years by sensational crimes. The earliest 
occurred in 1866, when four Europeans (3 Italians and 
an Austrian) murdered four Marwadis as they lay asleep 
in a house in Khoja Street. The motive of the crime 
was robbery ; and the culprits were fortunately caught 
by the Deputy Commissioner, Mr. Edginton, and some 
European and Indian police, who pursued them from 
the scene of the crime. At the end of 1872 the Senior 
Magistrate of Police received information that a Parsi 
solicitor of the High Court and a Hindu accomplice had 
instigated a Fakir named Khaki Sha to kill one Nicholas 
de Ga and his wife by secret means for a reward of 
Rs. 5000. Similar information was also conveyed to Khan 
Bahadur Mir Akbar Ali, head of the detective police. 
Mr. R. H. Vincent, who was then acting Deputy Com- 



IV Sir frank SOUTER 1864-1888 ft 

missioner, Mir Akbar AH, Mir Abdul Ali, Superinten- 
dent Mills and an European inspector concealed them- 
selves behind a bamboo partition-wall in the Fakir's 
house in Kamathipura and thus overheard details of 
the plot against the de Gas. It transpired that Mrs. 
de Ga was entitled to certain property, of which the 
Parsi solicitor and a Mrs. Pennell were executors ; and 
having mismanaged the property, the latter were anxious 
to obviate all chance of inquiry by the interested 
parties into their misconduct. The solicitor and his 
Hindu accomplice were both convicted. A curious case 
occurred in 1874, when Mr. James Hall of the Survey 
Department was accused of causing the death in Balasi- 
nor of three Indian troopers, attached to that department, 
and was adjudged at his trial to be of unsound 
mind. The murder of a European broker named Roonan 
by a European Portuguese, de Britto, in 1877 caused some 
temporary excitement, as also did a murder in the com- 
pound of H. H. the Aga Khan's house in Mazagon, 
perpetrated at a moment when most of the Khoja 
residents had gone to Byculla railway station to receive 
the corpse of the late Aga Ali Shah. 

The last, and in some ways most interesting, case 
happened in November, 1888, when a Pathan strangled 
his wife, with the help of a friend, in a room in Pakmodia 
street. The two men placed the corpse of the woman 
in a box, tied up in sacking, and took it with a mattress 
on a cart to the neighbourhood of the Elphinstone Road 
railway station. There they left the box and mattress 
in charge of a cooly, telling him to watch them until they 
came back. They then walked into the city, where they 
sold the woman's jewellery and purchased tickets for 
Jeddah out of the proceeds. A day or two later they 
sailed together for the Hedjaz. The cooly, after waiting 
some time, took the box and mattress to his house, where 
they lay until November 23rd, three weeks after the 
murder. By that date the stench from the box was so 
overpowering that the cooly in alarm removed them to 



64 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

a dry ditch in the vicinity, where they were discovered 
by the police on November 24th. The woman's body 
was naturally so decomposed that identification was 
impossible. But by means of the box and the clothes of 
the deceased, Mir Abdul Ali and his men managed 
to trace the offenders, who were eventually arrested 
at Aden and brought back on December loth to stand 
their trial. 

Among other causes celehres was the destruction of 
the Aurora in 1 8/0, the morning after she had left Bombay, 
in pursuance of a conspiracy on the part of the master of 
the vessel and three other Europeans to defraud the under- 
writers by means of false bills-of-lading. The vessel was 
supposed to be laden with a heavy cargo of cotton which 
actually was never shipped. All the culprits, of whom 
two were ship and freight brokers in Bombay, were 
sentenced to long terms of penal servitude. Two 
interesting examples of the manufacture of false evidence 
occurred in 1872, In one case seven persons were 
charged with causing one Kuvarji Jetha to be stabbed 
by two men at Ahmedabad, in order that the fact of the 
stabbing might be adduced in evidence against a third 
party, against whom they bore a grudge ; while in the 
second case three persons were convicted of robbery at 
Surat on evidence which the Bombay Police proved 
conclusively to have been manufactured by seven 
conspirators in Bombay. Two remarkable cases 
of cheque-forgeries by Parsis on the National and the 
Hong-Kong and Shanghai banks were committed to 
the Sessions in 1 875. 

The growth of intemperance was a noticeable 
feature of the period. In 1866-67, the Senior Magistrate, 
Mr. Barton, advocated more drastic restrictions on the 
sale of liquor, and in 1871 the Bombay Government 
commented upon the excessive prevalence of drinking, 
which was the immediate cause of twenty-one deaths 
in that year. In 1876 drunkenness was reported to have 
iacreased greatly among Indian women of the lower 



IV Sir frank SOUTER 1864-1888 65 

classes ; * a further increase was reported in 1884, 
when 4,800 persons, including 224 Europeans, were 
charged with this ofifence ; and in 1886 the total number of 
cases had risen to nearly 7,000. While the growth of a 
floating European population, connected with the harbour 
and shipping, certainly contributed to swell the returns of 
intemperance, the main causes underlying the increase 
were the rapid expansion of the textile industry and the 
growth of the industrial population, which, in the absence 
of facilities for decent recreation and in consequence 
of scandalous housing-conditions, was prone to drown its 
discomforts by resort to the nearest liquor-shop. Not a 
few of the problems, which still confront the Bombay 
executive authorities, can be traced back to this period 
when a large and important industry was suddenly 
developed by the genius and capacity of a number of 
Indian merchants, and a huge lower-class population, 
almost wholly illiterate and lacking moral and physical 
stamina, was introduced into the restricted area of the 
Island at a rate which defied all efforts to provide for 
its proper accommodation. 

The growth of routine police-work during these 
years is apparent from the number of persons placed 
before the magisterial bench. Between 1874 and 1880 
it increased from 21,500 to nearly 28,000, the exceptional 
number of 33>000, recorded in 1879, being due to the 
presence of a large body of immigrants, who had fled 
from the famine of the previous year in the Deccan 
and remained in Bombay in the hope of improving their 
condition by stealing. The volume of offences against 
property likewise expanded and would probably have 
been greater, but for the chances of steady employment 
afforded by the opening of new mills and the con- 
struction of dock works. Among the most unsatisfactory 
features of crime recorded during these years were the 
steady increase in the number of juvenile offenders and 
the comparatively large number of cases in which children 
I. G. R. J. D. 2633 of April 2ist, 1877. 
9 



66 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

were murdered for the sake of the gold and silver 
ornaments they were wearing. As Sir Frank Souter 
remarked, it is practically impossible for the State to 
provide an effective remedy for this evil, so long as 
Indian parents persist in a practice which offers over- 
whelming temptation to the criminal classes. The 
prosecution of persons for adultery, which is an offence 
under the Indian Penal Code, was another noteworthy 
feature of the crime records of the 'seventies. In 1872 
nineteen, and in 1873 twenty-three offenders were 
prosecuted by the police for this offence, and all of 
them were acquitted. The extreme difficulty in a 
country like India of proving a criminal charge of this 
character led doubtless to the abandoment of such 
prosecutions in all but the rarest cases. A remarkable 
case of criminal breach of trust, in which no less 
than 51 separate charges were brought against a Parsi 
woman, who was convicted on three counts, and a clever 
theft of silver bars and coin from the Mint by some 
sepoys of the lOth Regiment N. I., owed their discovery 
to the detective abilities of the police. 

The criminality of Europeans was due to specific 
causes connected with the growth of the port. As 
early as 1867 the prevalence of low freights and the 
difficulty of obtaining employment afloat or ashore led 
to much distress and crime among European seamen, 
and the Police were forced to undertake the task of 
finding work for some of this floating population and 
of shipping others to Europe. On the opening of the 
Suez Canal at the end of 1869, the old sailing vessels, in 
which the trade of the port had up to that date been 
carried on, yielded place to steamers, which remained 
only a short time in harbour and discharged and took 
in cargoes by steam-power. To this change in the 
shipping-arrangements was ascribed the prosecution in 
1871 in the magisterial courts of 8l2 refractory sailors. 
A gradual improvement, however, took place in con- 
sequence of "the facilities of communication afforded 



IV Sir frank SOUTER 1864-1888 67 

by the telegraph", whereby "the amount of tonnage 
required for merchandize to be exported from Bombay 
to Europe can be regulated to a nicety. There are 
far fewer ships in the harbour seeking freight, while 
the crews of the Canal steamers being engaged for short 
periods and subject to only a brief detention in the 
port, the causes which produced discontent are not 
so prevalent as formerly/'^ Most of the European 
offenders, as is still the case, belonged to the sea-faring 
or military classes or to the fluctuating population of 
vagrants, and it was their conduct, not that of the regular 
European residents, which caused the proportion of 
offenders to the whole European population to compare 
very unfavourably with the proportion in other sects or 
communities. Much improvement of a permanent 
character resulted from the opening of the Sailors' Home 
by the Duke of Edinburgh in 1876, while from 1888 the 
police were relieved of the duty of prosecution in many 
cases by a decision of the magistracy that under the 
Mercantile Marine Act the police should no longer arrest 
European seamen summarily, but should leave the 
commanders of vessels to obtain process from the courts 
against defaulting members of their crews. 

Only on three occasions was the public peace 
seriously broken during Sir Frank Souter's tenure of 
office. The first disturbance occurred in 1872 during the 
Muharram festival — the annual Muhammadan celebration 
of the deaths of Hasan and Husein, which up to the year 
191 2 offered an annual menace to law and order. Writing 
of this festival in 1885, Sir Frank Souter stated that it was 
always "a laborious and anxious time for the police, as 
until recent years it was almost certain to be ushered in 
by serious disturbances and often bloodshed, arising from 
the longstanding and at one time bitter feud existing 
between the Sunni and Shia sects. For many years it 
was found necessary to place a strong detachment of 
troops in the City, where they remained during the 
I. G. R. J. D. 2427 of April 29th. 1873. 



68 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

last two or three days of the Muharram, and it is only 
within the last few years that the usual requisition at 
the commencement of the Muharram to hold a party of 
military in readiness has been discontinued." By the 
middle of the 'eighties a better feeling existed between 
the two sects ; but the excitement during the festival was 
still intense and the congregation in Bombay of Moslems 
from all parts of Asia rendered the work of the police 
extremely arduous. Apparently in 1872 the sectarian 
antagonism developed into open rioting, resulting in 
serious injury to about sixty people, before Sir Frank 
Souter gained control of the situation,^ This outbreak 
was followed about a month later by a serious affray 
between two factions of the Parsi community outside 
the entrance to the Towers of Silence on Gibbs road. 
The police speedily put an end to the disturbance and 
arrested fifty persons for rioting, all of whom were 
subsequently acquitted by the High Court.^ 

These disturbances were trivial by comparison 
with the Parsi-Muhammadan riots of February, 1 874, 
which ensued upon an ill-timed and improper attack 
upon the Prophet Muhammad, written and published 
by a Parsi in a daily newspaper. Shortly after 
10 a. m. on the morning of February 13th, a mob of rough 
Muhammadans gathered outside the Jama Masjid, and 
after an exhortation by the Mulla began attacking 
the houses of Parsi residents. Two agiaris (fire-temples) 
were broken open and desecrated by a band of 
Sidis, Arabs and Pathans, who then commenced looting 
Parsi residences and attacking any Parsi whom they 
met on the road. One of the worst affrays occurred in 
Dhobi Talao. The Musalman burial-ground lies between 
the Queen's road and the Parsi quarter of that section, 
and an important Parsi fire-temple stands on the Girgaum 
road, which cuts the section from south to north. 
Alarmed at the approach of a large Muhammadan funeral 

1. Times of India, 1872 ; Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island, II, 179, 

2. Senior Magistrate's Report of Crime, 1873. 



IV Sir frank SOUTER 1864-1888 69 

procession from the eastern side of the city, the Parsis 
threw stones at the Muhammadans, who retaliated, and 
a free fight with bludgeons and staves, in which many- 
persons were injured, was carried on until the police 
arrived in force. Much damage to person and property 
was also done in Bhendy Bazar and the Khetwadi section.^ 
On the following day the attitude of the Muhammadans 
was so threatening that the leading Parsis waited in a 
deputation on the Governor, Sir Philip Wodehouse, and 
begged him to send military aid to the Police, who 
appeared unable to cope with the situation. Sir Philip 
Wodehouse refused the request ; and when, in revenge for 
their losses some Parsis attacked a gang of Afghans near 
the Dadysett Agiari in Hornby road, the Governor 
summoned the leading Parsis and urged them to keep 
their co-religionists under better control. The hostility 
of the two communities, however, defied all efforts at 
conciliation, and in the end the troops of the garrison 
had to be called in to assist in the restoration of order.^ 
The police eventually charged 106 persons with rioting, 
of whom 74 were convicted and sentenced to varying 
periods of imprisonment. During the progress of the 
riot, while the police were fully occupied in trying 
to restore order, the criminal classes took advantage of 
the situation and disposed of a large quantity of stolen 
property, which was never recovered.^ 

The Parsis were greatly dissatisfied with the attitude 
of the authorities and subsequently submitted a memorial 
to the Secretary of State, begging that an enquiry might 
be held into the rioting and blaming the police for apathy 
and the Government for not at once sending military 
assistance. The Governor's refusal to call out the 
troops, until the police were on the point of breaking 
down, was apparently due to his belief that his powers 

I. Times of India, February 14th, 1874; the Annual Register, 1874; 
J. M. Maclean, Guide to Bombay (1902) p. 285 ; Gazetteer 
Bombay City II, l8o. 

a. Memoir of Sir Dinshaw Petit, Bart, by S. M. Edwardes, 1923. 

3. Annual Report of Senior Magistrate, 1874. 



fO THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

in this direction were restricted. He was subsequently- 
informed by Lord Salisbury that extreme constitutional 
theories could not safely be imported into India, and 
that therefore troops might legitimately be used to 
render a riot impossible.-^ The Secretary of State to 
this extent endorsed the views of the Parsi community, 
which felt that it had not been adequately protected. 

Both before and after the passing of the Presidency 
Magistrates Act IV of 1877 the relations between the 
magistracy and the police were usually harmonious, and 
the court-work of the latter was much facilitated by the 
publication in February, 1881, of rules under that Act, 
designed to secure uniformity of practice in the four 
magistrates* courts and the better distribution and 
conduct of business. The question of delay caused by- 
frequent adjournments to suit the convenience of 
barristers and pleaders, was also under consideration : 
and although no rules, however carefully framed, would 
suffice to prevent entirely the evil of procrastination, 
some amelioration was effected under the instructions 
and at the instance of the Bombay Government. The 
matter acquired added importance from the application 
to the Bombay courts on January 1st, 1 883, of the 
provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code (Act X of 
1882), which increased considerably the work of the 
Presidency Magistrates, 

In 1887, the year preceding Sir Frank Souter's 
retirement and death, the Acting Chief Presidency 
Magistrate, Mr. Crawley Boevey, displayed a rather more 
critical attitude than had previously been customary 
towards the work of the police. He commented unfavour- 
ably upon the number of minor offences dealt with under 
the Police Act, and suggested that the Police sought to 
raise their percentages by charging large numbers of 
persons, some of whom were respectable residents, with 
trivial misdemeanours under local Acts, and that they 

I. Letter from Lord Salisbury to the Governor-General in 
Council, July 9th. 1874. 



IV Sir frank SOUTER 1864-1888 ft 

might devote greater attention to the more serious forms 
of crime. At the same time Mr. Crawley Boevey evinced 
the strongest objection to the practice, hitherto followed 
as a precautionary measure by the constabulary, of 
searching suspicious characters at night; and he actually 
convicted and sentenced to a term of imprisonment an 
Indian constable who had arrested and searched a 
townsman in this way, under the authority given by 
section 35 of the old Police Act XIII of 1856. His 
decision was reversed on appeal by the High Court : but 
the practice, which had on several occasions led to the 
discovery of thefts and furnished clues to current 
investigations, was nevertheless temporarily abandoned, 
until Mr. Crawley Boevey had left the magisterial bench. 
It was resumed under Sir F. Souter's successor with the 
full concurrence of the Bombay Government, who 
recognized that the searching between midnight and 
4-30 a. m. of wanderers who were unable to give a good 
account of themselves, was a valuable measure of 
precaution in both the prevention and detection of crime. 

The Commissioner of Police remained responsible 
for the working of the Fire-Brigade practically up to the 
date of Sir Frank Souter's retirement. By 1887, how- 
ever, the marked expansion of the city and the increase 
of police-work proper obliged Government to relieve the 
European police of all fire-brigade duty. The engineers 
of the Brigade were transferred in that year to the 
Municipality, and in the following year the whole 
organization, composed of engineers, firemen, tindals, 
lascars, coachmen and grooms, became an integral part 
of the municipal staff under the provisions of the new 
Municipal Act III of 1888. One of the largest fires dealt 
with by the Police, prior to the transfer, occurred in 1882, 
when the Oriental Spinning and Weaving Company's 
mill at Colaba, which dated from 1858, was completely 
destroyed. 

The detective branch of the police-force, which was 
the nucleus of the modern C. I. D., was a creation of this 



72 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

period. Forjett, as has already been mentioned in 
connection with the events of I857, had founded this 
department ; but his own powers and activities as a 
detective resulted in little attention being paid to the 
plain-clothes men who served under his immediate orders. 
When Sir Frank Souter succeeded him, the progress of 
the city in every direction demanded administrative 
capacity rather than detective ability inthe Commissioner; 
and apart from the fact that no Englishman at the head 
of the force could hope to emulate Forjett's personal 
success as a detective, the increasing volume of routine 
work would in any case have obliged the holder of the 
office to delegate the special detection of crime to a 
picked body of his subordinates. The detective branch 
first came prominently to notice in 1872, in connexion 
with the de Ga and False Evidence cases mentioned in 
an earlier paragraph. At that date the head of the branch 
was Khan Bahadur Mir Akbar Ali. He was assisted by 
a more remarkable man, Khan Bahadur Mir Abdul Ali, 
who eventually succeeded him. Under their auspices the 
branch attained remarkable efficiency and was instru- 
mental in unravelling many complicated cases of serious 
crime, such as the murder of the Pathan woman in 1 88/, 
and in breaking-up many gangs of thieves and house- 
breakers. Not the least important of their duties was the 
constant supply of information to the Commissioner of 
the state of public feeling in the City, and the exercise 
of a vigilant and tactful control over the inflammable 
elements among the masses at such seasons of excitement 
as the Muharram. 

If it is true that a really successful detective is born 
and not made, Sir Frank Souter must be accounted 
fortunate in securing the services of two such men as 
Mir Akbar Ali and Mir Abdul Ali, of whom the latter 
wielded a degree of control over the hadmashes of the City 
wholly disproportionate to his position as the superin- 
tendent of the safed kapadawale or plain-clothes police. 
Among his ablest assistants at the date of Sir Frank 



IV Sir frank SOUTER 1864-1888 73 

Souter^s retirement were Superintendent Harry Brewin, 
who was likewise destined to leave his mark upon the 
criminal administration, Inspector Framji Bhikaji, and 
Inspector Khan Saheb Roshan Ali Asad Ali. None of 
these men could be described as highly educated, and 
the majority of the native officers and constables under 
their orders were wholly illiterate: but they possessed 
great natural intelligence and acumen, an extraordinary 
flair for clues, and indefatigable energy. These qualities 
enabled them to solve problems, to which at first there 
seemed to be no clue whatever, and to keep closely in 
touch by methods of their own with the more disreput- 
able and dangerous section of the urban population. It 
was for his services as Superintendent of the Detective 
Branch that Khan Bahadur Mir Abdul Ali was rewarded 
by Government in 1891 with the title of Sirdar. 

From time to time the arrival of distinguished visit- 
ors threw an additional strain upon the police; and much 
of the success of the arrangements on these occasions 
must be attributed to the energy of the Deputy Com- 
missioners of Police and the European Superintendents of 
the force. At the commencement of this period the 
Deputy Commissioner was Mr. Edginton, who had served 
under Mr. Forjett and shared with him the burdens of 
1857. In 1865 he was deputed to England to qualify 
himself for the office of chief of a steam fire-brigade, 
then about to be introduced into Bombay, and he is 
mentioned as acting Commissioner of Police in 1874. 
During a further period of furlough in 1872, his place 
was taken by Mr. R. H. Vincent, and in 1884 permanent- 
ly by Mr. Cell, both of whom were destined subsequent- 
ly to succeed to the command of the force. Among the 
occasions demanding special police arrangements were 
the visit of the Viceroy, Lord Northbrook, in 1 8/2, of 
the Duke of Edinburgh in 1870, of the Prince of Wales 
in l875» of the Duke and Duchess of Connaught in 1883, 
the departure of Lord Ripon in 1884 and the Jubilee 
celebrations of 1887. The general character of the police 
10 



74 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

administration is well illustrated by the statement of Sir 
Richard Temple ( Governor of Bombay, 1 877-80 ) that 
" the police, under the able management of Sir Frank 
Souter, was a really efficient body and popular withal, "1 
and by the words of Mr. C. P. Cooper, Senior 
Majsjistrate of Police, in 1875 that " during the time H. 
R. H. the Prince of Wales was in Bombay ( November, 
1875 ), when the City was much crowded with Native 
Chiefs and their followers, and by people from many 
parts of India, and when all the officers of the De- 
partment were on duty nearly the whole of the day and 
night, the Magistrates had, if any thing, less work than 
on ordinary occasions. This result was due to excellent 
police arrangements."* These eulogies were rendered 
possible by the hard work of successive Deputy Com- 
missioners and of the non-gazetted officers of the police 
force. 

Apart from the numerical inadequacy of the force, to 
which reference has already been made, the most vital 
needs during the later years of Sir Frank Souter*s 
administration were the provision of police-buildings 
and the proper housing of the rank and file. In his 
reports for 1885 and 1886 the Commissioner explained 
that all except a fractional proportion of the constabu- 
lary were living in crowded and insanitary chalsy the 
rent of the rooms which they occupied being much in 
excess of the monthly house allowance of one rupee, 
granted at that date to the lower ranks. The absence 
of sanitary barracks or lines was one of the chief reasons 
for the high percentage of men in hospital, and, coupled 
with the arduous duty demanded of a greatly under- 
manned force, had led directly to a decline in recruit- 
ment. The European police were in no better plight. 
In default of suitable official quarters they were forced 
to reside in cramped and inconvenient rooms, the owners 
of which were constantly raising the rents to a figure 

I. Sir R. Temple, Men & Events of My Time in India. 

2 Annual Report of Senior Magistrate of Police for 1875. 



IV Sir frank SOUTER 1864-1888 75 

much higher than the monthly house allowance which 
the officers drew from the Government treasury. In 
some cases it was quite impossible for an officer to find 
accommodation in the area or section to which he was 
posted, and the discomfort was aggravated by his being 
obliged, in the absence of a proper police-station, to 
register complaints and interview parties in a portion of 
the verandah of his hired quarters. Some relief was 
afforded by the construction between 1871 and 1881 of 
the police-stations at Bazar Gate, facing the Victoria 
Terminus, and at Paidhoni, which commands the 
entrance to Parel road ( Bhendy Bazar ) : while from 
1868 the police were allowed the partial use of the old 
Maharbaudi building in Girgaum, which served for 
twenty-five years as the Court of the Second Magistrate. 

In 1885 the Bombay Government sanctioned the 
building of a new Head Police Office opposite the 
Arthur Crawford market. This work, however, was not 
commenced till the end of 1894, and the building was 
not occupied till 1899; and meantime the Commissioner 
annually urged upon Government the need of adding 
barracks for the constabulary to the proposed head- 
quarters, on the grounds that the chosen site was far 
more convenient than that of the old police office ( built 
in 1882 ) and lines at BycuUa, both for keeping in touch 
with the pulse of the City and for concentrating rein- 
forcements during seasons of popular excitement and 
disturbance. Further relief for the European police was 
also secured in 1888 by the completion of the Esplanade 
Police Court, which superseded an old and unsuitable 
building in Hornby road, occupied for many years by 
the courts of the Senior and Third Magistrates. Quarters 
for a limited number of European police officers were 
provided on the third floor of the new building, which 
was opened in May, 1889. 

Thus, apart from the task of perfecting arrangements 
for the prevention and detection of crime on the 
foundations laid by Sir Frank Souter, the chief problem 



76 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

which his successors inherited was the proper housing 
of the police force, in a city where overcrowding and 
insanitation had become a public scandal. The in- 
convenient and unpleasant conditions in which the police 
were obliged to perform their daily duties resulted 
directly from the phenomenal growth of Bombay since 
the year i860, and from the inability of the Government 
to allot sufficient funds for keeping the police adminis- 
tration abreast of the social and commercial develop- 
ment of the city. During his long regime of twenty- 
four years Sir Frank Souter saw the extension of the 
B. B. and C. I. Railway to Bombay, the opening of 
regular communication by rail with the Deccan and 
Southern Maratha Country, the construction of the Suez 
Canal and the appearance in Bombay of six or seven 
European steamship-companies, the feverish prosecution 
of reclamation of land from the sea, which increased the 
area of the Island from 1 8 to 22 square miles, the con- 
struction of many new roads and overbridges, the 
building of great water-works, the projection of drainage 
schemes, and the lighting of the streets with gas. He 
witnessed the old divisions of the Island develop into 
municipal wards and sections ; saw the opening of the 
Prince's, Victoria and Merewether docks ; saw the first 
tramway lines laid in 1872, and watched the once rural 
area to the north of the Old Town develop into the busy 
industrial sections of Tardeo, Nagpada, Byculla, Chinch- 
pugli and Parel. The number of cotton-spinning and 
weaving mills increased from lO in 1870 to 70 at the date 
of his retirement, and the urban population increased 
pari passu with this expansion of trade and industrial 
enterprise. Between 1872 and 1881 the population in- 
creased from 644,405 to 773,196, and by 1888 it cannot 
have been much less than 800,000. 

Sir Frank Souter relinquished his office on April 
30th, 1888, and retired to the Nilgiris in the Madras 
Presidency, where he died in the following July. Thus 
ended a remarkable epoch in the annals of the Bombay 



IV Sir frank SOUTER 1864-1888 77 

Police. It says much for the administrative capacity of 
the Commissioner that, in spite of an inadequate police- 
force and the difficulties alluded to in a previous para- 
graph, he was able to cope successfully with crime and 
maintain the peace of the City unbroken for fourteen 
years. Frequent references in their reviews of his 
annual reports show that the Bombay Government fully 
realized the valuable character of his services, while 
the confidence which he inspired in the public is proved 
by the testimony of trained observers like Sir Richard 
Temple, by the great memorial meeting held in Bombay 
after his death, at which Sir Dinshaw Petit moved a 
resolution of condolence with his family, and by the 
erection of the marble bust which still adorns the 
council-hall of the Municipal Corporation. His own 
subordinates, both European and Indian, regretted his 
departure perhaps more keenly than others, for he 
occupied towards them an almost patriarchal position. 
All ranks had learnt by long experience to appreciate 
his vigour and determination and his even-handed 
justice, which, while based upon a high standard of 
efficiency and integrity, was not blind to the many 
temptations, difficulties and discouragements that beset 
the daily life of an Indian constable. Realizing how 
much he had done to advance their interests and secure 
their welfare during nearly a quarter of a century, the 
Police Force paid its last tribute of respect to the 
Commissioner by subscribing the cost of the marble bust 
by Roscoe MuUins, which stands in front of the main 
entrance of the present Head Police Office. 

The memory of Sir Frank Souter is likely to endure 
long after the last of the men who served under him has 
earned his final discharge, for he was gifted with a per- 
sonality which impressed itself upon the imagination 
of all those who came in contact with him. More than 
twenty years after his death, the writer of this book 
watched an old and grizzled Jemadar turn aside as he 
left the entrance of the Head Police Office and halt in 



7^ THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

front of the bust. There he drew himself smartly to 
attention and gravely saluted the marble simulacrum of 
the dead Commissioner — an act of respect which il- 
lustrated more vividly than any written record the 
personal qualities which distinguished Sir Frank Souter 
during his long and successful career in India. 




LIEUT. -COLONEL W. H. WILSON 



CHAPTER V 

LlEUT.-COLONEL W. H. WILSON 
1888— 1893 

Lieut-Colonel W. H. Wilson, who belonged to the 
Bombay District Police, succeeded Sir Frank Souter 
on July 4th, 1888. He had already acted once as 
Commissioner from October 1885 to May 1 886, during 
his predecessor's absence on furlough. During the 
period which intervened between Sir F. Souter's de- 
parture on April 30th and Colonel Wilson's appointment 
in July, the duties of the Commissioner devolved upon 
Mr. H. G. Cell, the Deputy Commissioner. Colonel 
Wilson held the appointment for five years, during 
which he was twice absent on leave, once from May to 
December, 1889, when Colonel Wise was appointed 
locum tenenSy and again for three months in 1890, when 
his place was filled by Major Humfrey. 

Throughout his term of office Colonel Wilson, like 
his predecessor, was hampered by lack of men. The 
force at the date of his assumption of control numbered 
1621 and cost annually Rs. 505,135' By 1892 there 
had been a trivial increase to 1634, while the annual 
cost had risen to Rs. 513,896. This lack of men was 
undoubtedly responsible for a decline in the prevention 
and detection of crime, as for example in 1 888, when 
many cases of house-breaking were undetected, and in 
1 891, when a serious increase of crime against property 
was recorded in Mahim and other outlying areas. It 
also resulted in the force being so seriously overworked 
that the percentage of men admitted to hospital showed 
a constant tendency to increase. In his report of 1892 
Colonel Wilson informed Government that the burden 
of duty sustained by the rank and file had become 
almost intolerable, that the men frequently became 
prematurely aged from overwork, and that many of the 



80 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

superior officers were ill from exposure and lack of rest. 
The Bombay Government endorsed the Commissioner's 
complaints and admitted the urgent need of increasing 
the Force.-^ A reorganization of the Force, involving 
a considerable addition to its numbers, had in fact been 
under consideration for several years ; but owing 
partly to financial stringency and partly to the delay 
inseparable from all official transactions, the much- 
needed relief was not granted until August, 1893,^ by 
which date Colonel Wilson had left India and Mr. Vincent 
had taken his place. The former thus had little or no 
chance of securing any improvement in the criminal 
work of the divisional police, and on more than one 
occasion he found his force singularly inadequate to 
cope with special and emergent duties. 

Like Sir Frank Souter, he also found the lack of 
police-stations and buildings a serious obstacle to efficient 
administration. Within a few months of assuming office 
he reported that the building at BycuUa, in which he 
worked, was very inconvenient and too far distant from 
the business quarters of the City, and he urged the 
early construction of the proposed Head Police Office 
on Hornby road. He reiterated his demands in 1890, 
1891, and 1892, stating that no real improvement could be 
effected until that office and additional quarters for the 
men were constructed. As mentioned in the preceding 
chapter, accommodation was provided for two European 
police officers in the Esplanade Police Court, which 
was occupied for the first time in 1889; while in the 
last year of his tenure of office, the divisional police 
secured some extra accommodation by the full use 
of the old Maharbaudi building, which had proved 
inconvenient to the public and was therefore vacated 
in 1893 by the Second Presidency Magistrate in favour 
of a Government building in Nesbit Lane, Mazagon.^ 

1. G. R. J. Do June 24th. 1892. 

2. G. R. J. D., 5389 of August 28th. 1893. 

3. Gazetteer of Bombay City and Island, II, 237. A Fourth Presi- 
dency Magistrate was appointed in 1892 and was accommodated 



V LIEUT.-COLONEL W. H. WILSON 1888-1893 81 

In the latter building also accommodation was provided 
for two European police officers. 

The capabilities of the detective police were tested 
by several serious crimes. The first, known as the 
Dadar Triple Murder, occurred in 1888 and aroused con- 
siderable public interest. Two Parsi women and a little 
boy, residing in Lady Jamshedji road, were brutally 
murdered by a Hindu servant, who was in due course 
traced, tried and executed. In 1890 the murder of a 
Hindu youth at Clerk Road was successfully detected, 
and this was followed in 1891 by the Khambekar Street 
poisoning case, in which a respectable and wealthy 
family of Memons were killed by a dissolute son of the 
house. The police investigation, which ended in the 
trial and conviction of the murderer, was greatly ob- 
structed by the collateral riT atives of the family, who 
made every efifort to render the enquiry abortive and 
were actively assisted by the whole Memon community. 

These crimes, however, were cast into the shade by 
the famous Rajabai Tower case, which caused great 
public agitation. On April 25th, 1891, two Parsi girls, 
Pherozebai and Bacchubai, aged respectively 16 and 20 
years, were found lying at the foot of the Rajabai Clock 
Tower, in circumstances and under conditions which 
indicated that they had been thrown from above. When 
discovered, one of the girls was dead, and the other so 
seriously injured that she expired within a few minutes. 
Suspicion fell upon a Parsi named Manekji and certain 
other persons : but the latter were released shortly after 
arrest, as there was no evidence that they were in 
any way concerned in the death of the two girls. The 
Coroner's jury, after nineteen sittings, gave a verdict that 
Bacchubai had thrown herself from the tower in con- 
sequence of an attempted outrage upon her by some 
person or persons unknown, and that Manekji was privy 

in the Esplanade Police Court. After the occupation of the 
Nesbit Lane building by the Second Presidency Magistrate, the 
Court of the Fourth Magistrate was also located there. 
U 



82 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

to the attempted outrage ; and further that Pherozebai 
had been thrown from the tower by Manekji, in order to 
prevent her giving information of the attempt to outrage 
herself and her friend. Manekji was tried by the High 
Court on a charge of murder and was acquitted. Various 
rumours were afloat as to the identity of the chief actors 
in the crime, among those suspected being a young 
Muhammadan belonging to a leading Bombay family. 
No further clue was ever obtained, and to this day the 
true facts are shrouded in mystery. 

The police dealt successfully with an important 
case of forgery, in which counterfeit stamps of the value 
of one rupee were very cleverly forged by a man who 
had previously served in the Trigonometrical Survey 
Department of the Government of India and was after- 
wards proved to have belonged to a gang of expert 
forgers in Poona. The collapse of a newly-built house 
prompted Superintendent Brewin to make a lengthy and 
careful inquiry into all the details of construction, which 
ended successfully in the prosecution and punishment 
of the two jerry-builders who erected it. House-collapses 
are not unknown in Bombay, particularly during the 
monsoon, when the weight of the wet tiles causes the 
posts of wooden-frame dwellings to give way ; but so 
far as is known, the case quoted is the only instance 
on record of a builder being prosecuted and punished 
under the criminal law for causing loss of life by 
careless or defective construction. The Sirdar Abdul 
Ali was equally successful in unravelling an important 
case of illicit traffic in arms and ammunition carried 
on by a gang of Pathans with certain transfrontier 
outlaws — a matter in which the Government of India 
at that date (1888) took considerable interest. 

The offence of gambling in various forms occupied 
the attention of the police to a greater degree than 
before, and the prevalence of rain-gambling led to a 
test prosecution in the magisterial courts. This form 
of wagering used to take place during the monsoon 



V LIEUT.-COLONEL W. H. WILSON 1888-1893 83 

at Paidhoni, where a house would be rented at a high 
price for the four months of the rains by a group of 
Indian capitalists. There were two forms of Bar sat ka 
satta or rain-gambling, known familiarly as Calcutta 
mori and Lakdi satta. In the former case wagers were 
laid as to whether the rain would percolate in a fixed 
time through a specially prepared box filled with sand, 
the bankers settling the rates or odds by the appearance 
and direction of the clouds. In the latter case, winnings 
or losses depended on whether the rainfall during a 
fixed period of time was sufficient to fill the gutter 
of a roof and overflow. The gambling took place usually 
between 6 a.m. and 12 noon, and again between 
6 p.m. and midnight, the rates varying according to the 
appearance of the sky and the time left before the 
period open for the booking of bets expired. The 
practice, which was very popular, was responsible 
for so much loss that in 1888 two of the principal 
promoters of rain-gambling were prosecuted by the 
order of Government. The Chief Presidency Magistrate, 
Mr. Cooper, who tried the case, decided that rain-gambling 
was not an offence under the Gambling Act, as then 
existing, and his decision was upheld on appeal by 
the High Court. Consequently Colonel Wilson applied 
for the necessary amendment of the Bombay Gambling 
Act, and this was in due course effected by the 
Legislature. Since that date rain-gambling has been 
unknown in Bombay. 

In 1890 and 1 891 the police made continual raids on 
gambling-houses, and in 1893 were obliged to adopt 
special measures against a form of bagatelle, known 
as Eki beki, which had a wide vogue in the City. The 
Public Prosecutor himself visited one of the more 
notorious resorts in order to acquaint himself thoroughly 
with the system, which in consequence of continuous 
action by the police was for the time being practically 
stamped out of existence. Bombay, however, has always 
been addicted to gambling, whether it be in the form of 



84 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

the well-known teji-mundi contracts, the ank satta or 
opium-gambling, or the ordinary gambling with dice and 
cards : and notwithstanding that the police at intervals 
pay special attention to the vice and secure some im- 
provement, the evil reappears and rapidly increases, 
directly vigilance is relaxed. The promoters of gambling 
are adepts in the art of misleading the authorities : 
they rarely use the same room on two successive 
occasions ; they have elaborated a vocabulary of warning- 
calls; and they employ spies and watchmen to keep 
them posted in all the movements of the police. Some 
of the latter have probably at times accepted hush-money 
and presents to turn a blind eye on the gamblers* 
movements : for otherwise it is difficult to understand why 
men, who are widely known to have been organizing 
gambling reunions for years, should have successfully 
evaded the law and in some cases have accumulated a 
considerable fortune in the process. 

Two matters of a novel character engaged the at- 
tention of the divisional police during Colonel Wilson*s 
regime. The first was a series of balloon ascents, which 
drew immense crowds of spectators. The earliest 
ascents were performed in the opening months of 1889 
from the grounds of old Government House, Parel, 
by a Mr. Spencer, who successfully descended with a 
parachute. He was followed in 1 891 by Mr. and Mrs. 
Van Tassell, who, except on one occasion when the 
lady*s parachute did not open immediately, carried out 
their performances without a hitch. This form of public 
amusement, however, came to a sudden and unhappy 
conclusion on December loth, 1891, when Lieutenant 
Mansfield, R. N., essayed an ascent. When he had 
reached a height of about 1000 feet, the balloon 
suddenly burst, and he fell headlong to earth and 
was killed in full view of a large crowd of spectators. 
Since that date and up to the outbreak of the War 
in 1914, the only aerial spectacle offered to the Bombay 
public was a much-advertised aeroplane flight from 



V LlEUT.-COLONEL W. H. WILSON 1888-1893 85 

the Oval. This venture was a fiasco. The aeroplane 
would only rise a few feet from the ground, and at 
that elevation collided violently with the iron railing 
of the B. B. and C. I. railway and was wrecked. 

The second event, which evoked much comment, 
was a strike by the employes of eleven cotton-spinning 
mills as a protest against a reduction in wages. So far 
as can be gathered from official records, this was the 
first strike of any magnitude that occurred in the 
industrial area, and seems to have been the earliest 
effort of the labour-population to test their powers of 
combination. The police had to be concentrated in 
the affected area, in order to guard mill-property and 
quell possible disorder : but the mill-workers at this 
date were quite unorganized and no disturbance occurred. 
The action of these mill-hands, however, carried the 
germ of the disorders which have since caused periodical 
damage to the industry and have interfered frequently 
with the normal duties of the police force. 

It is convenient at this point to refer to the problem 
of European prostitution, which has repeatedly formed 
the subject of comment in more recent years. Before 
the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869, the foreign 
prostitute from eastern Europe was practically unknown 
in Bombay, and such immorality as existed was confined 
to women of Eurasian or Indian parentage. Once, how- 
ever, the large European shipping-companies had 
established regular steamer-communication with India, 
and Port Said had become a port of call and an asylum 
for the riff-raff of Europe, the Jew procurer and " white- 
slave" trafficker gradually included India within the 
orbit of a trade, which was characterized by a fairly 
regular demand and by large and easily earned profits. 
The Foreigners Act III of 1864, under the provisions of 
which the Bombay Police arrange for the deportation 
of foreign pimps, as well as of prostitutes whose conduct 
demands their expulsion, was apparently not used 
frequently before the last decade of the nineteenth 



86 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

century, except against troublesome Pathans and Arabs, 
belonging respectively to the transfrontier region or to 
the territory of Indian Princes. But the immigration of 
foreign women must have begun tentatively during the 
regime of Sir Frank Souter and continued to expand 
under the auspices of the international procurer, until 
by the last years of the nineteenth century these unfortu- 
nates had secured a strong foothold in certain houses 
situated in Tardeo, Grant road and other streets of the 
Byculla ward. 

The growth of the European population, resulting 
from the expansion of the trade of the port, and an 
increasing disinclination on the part of Government and 
society to countenance the old system of liaisons with 
Indian women, may have induced the authorities to 
regard the establishment of the European brothel and 
the presence of the European prostitute as deplorable 
but necessary evils. Provided that the women were kept 
under reasonable control and the police were sufficiently 
vigilant to ensure the non-occurrence of open scandals, 
no direct steps were taken to abolish a feature of urban 
life which struck occasional travellers and others as 
inexpressibly shocking. To the peripatetic procurer, 
who visited Bombay at frequent intervals in order to 
relieve the women of their savings and ascertain the 
demand for fresh arrivals, the Police showed no mercy ; 
and the regular use which they made of the Foreigners 
Act towards the close of the last century indicates that 
by that date Bombay ( like Calcutta and Madras ) had 
become a regular halting-point in the procurer's disgrace- 
ful itinerary from Europe to the Far East. 

It must be remembered that the number of European 
professional prostitutes in India has never been large, 
and the worst features of the traffic, as understood in 
Europe, are fortunately absent. That is to say, the 
Women of this class who find their way to the brothels 
of the Grant Road neighbourhood and to the less 
secluded rooms in and around the notorious Cursetji 



V LlEUT.-COLONEL W. H. WILSON 1888-1893 87 

Suklaji street, which used to be known on this account 
as 5<^/^^^^// or "white lane", are not decoyed thither 
by force or fraud. The women usually arrive unac- 
companied and of their own choice, and they are well 
over the age of majority before they first set foot on the 
Bombay bandar. Their treatment in the brothel is not 
bad and they are not subjected to cruelty. The 
" mistress " of the brothel, who is herself a time-expired 
prostitute and has sometimes paid a heavy sum to her 
predecessor for the good-will of the house, feeds and 
houses the women in return for 50 per cent of their daily 
earnings ; and as her own livelihood and capital are at 
stake, she is usually careful to see that nothing occurs 
to give the house a bad name among her clientele or to 
warrant punitive action on the part of the police. The 
'* mistress " acts in fact as a buffer between the women 
of her house and the male visitor, protecting the general 
interests and health of the former and safeguarding the 
latter from theft and robbery by the women, who are 
usually drawn from the lower strata of the population 
of eastern Europe and who would, in the absence of such 
control, be liable to thieve and quarrel, and would also 
commence visiting places of public resort, such as the 
race-course, restaurants etc., and walking the streets of 
the European quarter. 

European women of this class are found only in the 
chief maritime cities of India — Calcutta, Bombay, Madras, 
Karachi and Rangoon, the only places in India which 
contain a considerable miscellaneous European popu- 
lation. Their total number is not large. Some of them 
doubtless were originally victims of the " white-slave " 
trafficker ; but their first initiation to the life happened 
several years before they found their way to India, with 
funds advanced to them by the pimp or, as they style 
him in their jargon, " the fancy-man " who first led 
them astray. There have been instances in Bombay of 
these women contriving to accumulate sufficient savings 
in the course of ten or twelve years* continuous prosti- 



88 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

tution to enable them either to purchase the good-will of 
a recognized brothel or to return to their own country 
and settle down there in comparative respectability. 
One or two, with their savings behind them, have been 
able to find a husband who was prepared to turn a blind 
eye to their past. Thus has lower middle-class respecta- 
bility been secured at the price of years of flaming 
immorality. But such cases are rare. These women as 
a class are wasteful and improvident, and are prone to 
spend all their earnings on their personal tastes and 
adornment. Most of them also, as remarked above, have 
become acquainted early in their career with a procurer, 
usually a Jew of low type, who swoops down at inter- 
vals from Europe upon the brothel in which they 
happen to be serving and there relieves them of such 
money as they may have saved after paying the recog- 
nized 50 per cent to the '* mistress " of the house. 

During Colonel Wilson's Commissionership little 
mention is made of action by the police against the foreign 
procurer. The latter was probably not so much in 
evidence as he was at a later date. The opening years of 
the twentieth century witnessed a change, however, in 
this respect, and a short time before the outbreak of the 
Great War, the Government of India made a special 
enquiry into the scope and character of European prosti- 
tution in India, in consequence of the submission to 
the Imperial Legislature of a private Bill designed 
to suppress the evil. The report on the subject 
submitted at that date ( 1913 ) by the Commissioner 
of Police, Bombay, was directly responsible for a 
decision to give the police wider powers of control 
over the casual visits of European procurers — a 
decision which was carried into effect after the close 
of the War by strengthening the provisions of the 
local Police Act and the Foreigners Act. In 1 92 1 the 
Government of India was represented at an International 
Conference on the Traffic in Women and Children, 
held at Geneva under the auspices of the League of 



V LIEUT.-COLONEL W. H. WILSON 1888-1893 89 

Nations ; and shortly afterwards India became a signatory 
of the International Convention of 1910, by which all the 
States concerned bind themselves to carry out certain 
measures designed to check and ultimately to abolish the 
traffic. 

There is little else to chronicle concerning the work 
of the police under Colonel Wilson. The arrangements 
for the visits of the late Prince Albert Victor and 
the Cesarewitch in 1890 were carried through without a 
hitch, despite the acknowledged inadequacy of the force. 
The annual Moslem pilgrimage to Mecca brought to 
Bombay yearly about 8000 pilgrims, whose passports 
and steamer-tickets were supplied by Messrs. Thomas 
Cook and Sons, the general supervision of the pilgrims 
and their embarkation at the docks being performed by 
the Protector of Pilgrims and a small staff, in collabo- 
ration with the Port Health officer. The period was 
remarkable for the establishment of several temperance 
movements in various parts of the City, which were 
declared in 1891 to have imposed a check upon wholesale 
drunkenness. No diminution, however, of the volume of 
crime against property was recorded, despite the activities 
of the Detective Branch and the action taken by the 
divisional police against receivers of stolen property, of 
whom 80 were convicted in 1889 and 64 in the following 
year. The property annually recovered by the police in 
cases of theft and house-breaking amounted to about 50 per 
cent of the value stolen, the paucity of the constabulary 
being the chief reason for the non-detection of constant 
thefts and burglaries which occurred in Mahim and other 
outlying areas. Considering how greatly he was handi- 
capped by lack of numbers, ill-health among the rank and 
file, and the absence of proper accommodation for both 
officers and men. Colonel Wilson's administration may 
be said to have been fairly successful. Fortunately he 
was spared the task of dealing with any serious outbreak 
of disorder, such as occurred during the early days of 
his successor's term of office. 
12 



CHAPTER VI 

Mr. R. H. Vincent, CLE. 
1893— 1898 

When Colonel Wilson left Bombay for England in 
April, 1893, his place was taken by Mr. R. H. Vincent, 
who had previously acted as Deputy Commissioner for a 
few months in 1872. A foreigner by birth, Mr. Vincent 
had served in his youth in the Foreign Legion of 
Garibaldi's army. He came subsequently to India and 
obtained an appointment in the Bombay District Police, 
in which his linguistic faculties and general capacity 
soon marked him out for promotion. He was appointed 
Acting Commissioner in April and was confirmed in 
the appointment shortly afterwards, when Colonel 
Wilson sent in his papers. His five years of office 
were remarkable for two grave outbreaks of disorder, 
one of them being the most serious riot that ever occurred 
in Bombay, for the outbreak of plague, which threw 
an enormous extra strain upon the police-force, and 
thirdly for the initiation by political agitators of the 
public Ganpati festivals, which supplied a direct 
incitement to sedition and disorder. 

A reorganization of the police-force was finally 
sanctioned by Government in an order of August 28th, 
1893, in consequence whereof the strength of the force 
at the close of that year was reported to be 1831, 
exclusive of 99 harbour police paid for by the Port 
Trustees. The extra number of men, coupled with 
revised rates of pay and allowances, brought the 
annual cost of the force to Rs. 518,078. A further 
addition to the force was sanctioned at the beginning 
of 1894, the net increase of men enlisted during that 
year being 287, of whom five were Europeans, fourteen 
were native officers, and fifty-three were mounted police. 




Mr. R. H. VINCENT 



Mr. R. H. VINCENT, CLE. 1893-1898 91 

The armed police were augmented by 66 men and 
the unarmed by 140, including 15 European and II 
Indian officers. The mounted police were placed under 
the command of an Inspector named Sheehy, specially 
recruited from a British cavalry regiment. In consequence 
of these additions, the Commissioner at the close of 
1894 was in command of a total force (exclusive of 
the harbour police) of 211 1, costing annually 
Rs. 710,528. The harbour police were also increased to 
114 in 1895. 

Excluding a small body of seven constables recruited 
in 1896 for special duty under the Glanders and Farcy 
Act, the sanctioned strength and cost of the force 
remained unaltered during the last three years of 
Mr. Vincent's term of office. The number, though more 
adequate than in Colonel Wilson's time, was yet barely 
sufficient to cope with all the duties imposed upon the 
force, while the advent of the plague and other events 
aggravated the strain. During the decade following 
upon Mr. Vincent's retirement appeals for more men were 
followed by spasmodic additions to the force until the 
publication in 1905 of the report of the Police Com- 
mission appointed by Lord Curzon. This resulted in a 
thorough scrutiny of the various police administrations 
and led in the case of Bombay to the preparation of a 
new and radical scheme of reform. 

In the matter of crime, the period of Mr. Vincent's 
Commissionership was remarkable for several murders, 
fifteen of which occurred in the year 1893. One of the 
most sensational crimes was the " double murder " at 
Walkeshwar in April 1897, when a Bhattia merchant and 
his sister were killed in a house near the temple by a 
gang of six men, all of whom were traced and arrested 
by the police after a protracted and difficult investi- 
gation. Five of the culprits were eventually hanged. 
The police were also successful in 1893 in breaking up 
two gangs of dhatura-poisoners, who had robbed a large 
number of people. In 189S Superintendent Brewin, with 



92 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

the help of the Sirdar Abdul Ali and his detectives, 
successfully unravelled a case of poisoning, perpetrated 
with the object of defrauding the Sun Life Assurance 
Company. A Goanese named Fonseca insured the life 
of a friend, Duarte, with the company and shortly after- 
wards administered to him a dose of arsenic, which he 
had obtained from a European employed in Stephens' 
stables, who used the poison for killing rats. Prior to 
insuring Duarte's life, Fonseca had him medically 
examined by two Indian Christian doctors of Portuguese 
descent, well-known in Bombay, who made a very per- 
functory examination. Subsequently, when Fonseca 
asked them to certify the cause of Duarte's death, they 
acted even more negligently and gave a certificate of 
death from natural causes without any inquiry. Certain 
facts, however, aroused the suspicions of the manager 
of the Assurance Company ; the police were called in ; 
and in due course Fonseca was tried and convicted of 
murder. 

The records of 1893 mention the arrest and con- 
viction of a leading member of the famous Sonari Toll or 
Golden Gang of swindlers, which for some time made a 
lucrative livelihood by fleecing the more credulous 
section of the public. But in the case of ordinary theft 
and robbery the police were less successful in recovering 
stolen property than in previous years, the percentage of 
recovery for the five years ending in 1894 being only 48 
and declining to 35 in 1898. Much of this crime was 
committed by professional bad characters and members 
of criminal tribes belonging to the Deccan and other 
parts of the Bombay Presidency. The prevalence of 
robbery and theft was viewed with such dissatisfaction 
by the Bombay Government that in 1894 they urged the 
Commissioner to make use of the provisions of chapter 
VIII of the Criminal Procedure Code, which had been 
applied with much success in up-country districts. Un- 
fortunately the Bombay magistracy required as a rule 
far more direct evidence of bad livelihood than was 



VI MR. R. H. VINCENT, CLE. 1893-1898 93 

procurable by the urban police, and any regular use of 
that chapter of the Code was therefore declared by the 
Commissioner to be impracticable. 

The court-work of the police under the local Act 
was indirectly affected by the closing of the opium-dens 
of the City in 1893. This was one result of the ap- 
pointment in that year of a Parliamentary Commission to 
inquire into the extent of opium consumption in India, 
its effects on the physique of the people, and the sug- 
gestion that the sale of the drug should be prohibited 
except for medicinal purposes. In consequence of the 
anti-opium agitation in England, the consumption of 
opium was from that date permitted only on a small 
scale in one or two " clubs " in the City, frequented by 
the lower classes. The opponents of the practice did 
not foresee that opium-smoking cannot be entirely 
abolished by laws and regulations, and that the stoppage 
of supplies of the drug merely results in the public 
seeking other more disastrous forms of self-indulgence. 
In Bombay the closing of the opium-shops led directly 
to a great increase of drunkenness,^ and a few years 
later to the far more pernicious and degrading habit of 
cocaine-eating. The experience of most Bombay police- 
ofl&cers is that the smoking of opium does not per se 
incite men to commit crime, and when practised in 
moderation it does not prevent a man from performing 
his daily work. Cocaine on the other hand destroys 
its victims body and soul, and the confirmed cocaine- 
eater usually develops into a criminal, even if he was 
not one previously. 

The practice of affixing bars to the ground- 
floor rooms in Duncan road, Falkland road and 
neighbouring lanes, occupied by the lowest class 
of Indian prostitutes, is usually supposed to have 
been introduced during the period of. Mr. Vincent's 
Commissionership. Strangers who visit Bombay, 
as well as respectable European and Indian residents, 
J. Report of Comm, of Police for 1893. 



94 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

are apt to be shocked by the sight of these Mhar, 
Dhed and other low-caste women sitting behind bars, 
like caged animals, in rooms opening directly on the 
street. It is not, however, generally known that the 
bars were put up, not for the purpose of what has 
been styled " exhibitionism", but in order to save the 
woman from being overwhelmed by a low-class male 
rabble, ready for violence on the smallest provocation. 
Before the women barred the front of their squalid rooms, 
there were constant scenes of disorder, resulting 
occasionally in injuries to the occupants; audit was 
on the advice of the police that about this date the 
women had the bars affixed, which oblige their low- 
class clientele to form a queue outside and enable the 
women to admit one customer at a time. Considering 
that a prostitute of this class charges only 4 annas for 
her favours and lives in great squalor, it is not surprising 
that venereal disease is extremely common, and that 
the offering of four annas to Venus ends generally in a 
further expenditure of one or two rupees on quack 
remedies. 

As regards regular police-work, Mr. Vincent made 
an attempt in 1894 to improve the regulation of traffic 
on public thoroughfares. This was necessitated by 
the steady increase of the number of public and 
private conveyances, the former having risen from 
5392 in 1884 to 8301 in 1894, and the latter at the same 
dates from 2674 to 5416. On the other hand the width 
of the roads had, with here and there occasional 
setbacks, remained constant for twenty years, and the 
majority of the streets were totally inadequate for the 
increased volume of daily traffic. The Commissioner's 
efforts to control traffic more effectively did result in 
a decrease of street-accidents, but they failed at the 
same time to meet with "the approval of the entire 
native community". Therein lies one of the chief 
obstacles to efficient traffic-regulation in Bombay. The 
ordinary Indian constable, though more able and alert 



VI MR. R. H. VINCENT, CLE. 1893-1898 95 

than he used to be, is still a poor performer as a regulator 
of traffic. He is not likely to improve, so long as Indians 
persist in using the roads in the manner of their 
forefathers in rural towns and villages, and so long as 
he is doubtful of the support of the magistracy in 
cases where he prosecutes foot-passengers and cab' 
drivers for neglect of his orders and of the rule of the 
road. Apart also from the possibility of the constable 
not being supported by the bench, as he usually is in 
England, the great delays which are liable to occur 
in the hearing of these trivial cases, through the 
procrastination of pleaders for the defence, act as a 
direct discouragement to prosecutions. A real and 
permanent improvement in traffic conditions cannot be 
secured, until the Indian public develops *' a traffic 
conscience '* and insists upon the relinquishment of 
ancient and haphazard methods of progression inherited 
from past centuries. 

In the same year (1894) the Commissioner reported 
that, in accordance with the orders of Government, he 
had introduced the Bertillon system of anthropometry 
at the Head Police Office, but he expressed a doubt 
whether results commensurate with the cost of working 
would be obtained. The following year he stated 
definitely that the system was a failure, but was 
urged by Government to persevere with it. The system, 
nevertheless, was doomed, and in 1896 was superseded 
by the far more accurate and successful finger-print 
system which was introduced into India by Mr. ( after- 
wards Sir Edward ) Henry, the Inspector-General of 
Police in Bengal. Although the Bertillon system was 
not finally abolished till the end of 1899, Mr. Vincent 
was able to report in 1898 that a finger-print bureau had 
been established, that two police officers had been 
deputed to Poona to learn from Mr. Henry himself the 
details of the system of criminal identification, and 
that by the end of the year 300 finger-impressions had 
been recorded. This was the origin of the Bombay City 



96 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

Finger-Print bureau, which by steadily augmenting its 
own record of criminals and by interchange of slips 
with the larger Presidency bureau at Poona, has compiled 
a very useful reference-work for investigating officers. 

The rapid extension of the scope of police work and 
the need of dealing more quickly and effectively with 
various classes of offences had for some time impressed 
upon the local authorities the need for a new police 
law. The old Act XLVIII of i860, under which the police 
worked in the days of Mr. Forjett, had been followed by 
three successive Town Police Acts, Nos. I of 1872, II of 
1879 and IV of 1882. But the provisions of these Acts 
needed amendment and consolidation to meet the altered 
conditions of later years ; and the Commissioner was 
justified in saying, as he did in 1898, that the police were 
" working at a disadvantage and were hampered in many 
ways " by the want of a comprehensive and intelligible 
City Police Act, which would enable them to deal 
effectively with the investigation of crime and the arrest 
and detention of offenders and with the special offences 
peculiar to a large city. He expressed a hope that the 
new City Police Bill, which had been under the consider- 
ation of Government for several years, would be enacted 
without further delay. Four years were still to elapse 
before this hope was fulfilled by the passing of Bombay 
Act IV of 1902. In the meanwhile the police, as well 
as the magistrates,^ had to perform their respective 
duties as best they could under the old law. Such 
success as the police achieved in dealing with crime 
and other evils was due largely to the energy and 
experience of the older Divisional Superintendents, such 
as Messrs. Crummy,^ Ingram, Grennan, McDermott, 
Sweeney, Nolan and Brewin, of the Sirdar Mir Abdul Ali, 
and of tried Indian inspectors like Rao Saheb Tatya 

I. Mr. Cooper, the Chief Presidency Magistrate, retired in 1893 

and was succeeded by Mr. J. Sanders-Slater. 
2 Mr. Crummy acted more than once as Deputy Commissioner of 

Police. 




KHAN BAHADUR SHEIKH IBRAHIM SHEIKH IMAM 
Joined the Force, 1864-Retired, 1911 



VI MR. R. H. VINCENT, CLE. 1893-1898 97 

Lakshman, Khan Saheb Roshan Ali and Khan Saheb 
(afterwards Khan Bahadur) Sheikh Ibrahim Sheikh Imam. 

Mr. Vincent's term of office was marked by the first 
outbreak of plague in the later months of 1896. When 
the disease first assumed epidemic form, there was a wild 
panic among all classes, and people fled in crowds from 
the city, leaving their homes unoccupied and unprotected. 
This led for the time being to a large increase of offences 
against property, committed by professional bad 
characters who took immediate advantage of the general 
exodus. The decrease of police cases in 1897 was due 
solely to the fact that the constant demands upon the 
force for duties connected with plague-inspection and 
segregation etc., left them no leisure to deal with the 
criminal classes, who throughout the early days of the 
epidemic indulged in an orgy of theft and house-breaking. 
It was estimated in February, 1897, that 400,000 
inhabitants had fled from the city, most of whom left their 
houses entirely unprotected. The Bombay Government 
was faced with " a difficult and delicate problem — the 
extent to which it was possible in view of Indian prejudices 
and convictions to put into force the scientific counsels 
of perfection pressed upon them by their medical 
advisers. The doctors drew up plans for house-to-house 
visitation, disinfection, isolation hospitals, segregation- 
camps, and inoculation, all of which were intensely 
distasteful to the Indian population with their caste 
regulations and their jealousy of any infringement of 
privacy in their home life."^ 

The police were constantly requisitioned to assist in 
one way or another the official attempts to stamp out the 
epidemic, and considering the extra strain thrown upon 
them by the various plague-preventive measures, it is 
surprising that they managed to cope as effectively as 
they did with their regular duties. In 1897 Mr. Rand of 
the Indian Civil Service and Lieutenant Ayerst, who had 

I. P. E. Roberts, Hist. Geography of British Dependencies^ Vol. VII, 
p. 508. 
13 



98 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

been engaged on plague-work, were assassinated at 
Poona. In connexion with the inquiry which followed 
Superintendent Brewin was summoned from Bombay and 
placed on special duty in Poona. In the following year 
occurred the plague-riots, to which reference will be 
made in a later paragraph. The difficulties which con- 
fronted the police during the first two or three years of 
the plague epidemic were aggravated by the unscrupu- 
lous campaign against the Government's precautionary 
measures conducted by the native Press, and the 
expedient then adopted of strengthening the law against 
seditious publications merely served to intensify popular 
feeling. It was not till after 1898 that the Indian Govern- 
ment, recognizing the genuineness and sincerity of the 
public opposition to plague-restrictions, abandoned their 
more stringent rules in favour of milder methods. 

In one direction only — the annual pilgrimage to 
the Hedjaz — may the plague be said to have brought 
any relief to the overworked police-force. The arrange- 
ments made by Messrs. Thomas Cook and Sons for 
shipping the pilgrims were discontinued about 1892, and 
in 1893 the Police Commissioner, acting through his 
pilgrim department and with the aid of the divisional 
and harbour police, shepherded the large number of 
I3»500 pilgrims to the embarkation sheds. Approximately 
the same number sailed in 1895. Directly the plague, 
however, had firmly established its hold upon Bombay, 
the annual exodus of pilgrims was prohibited, in response 
partly to international requirements, and during the 
remainder of Mr. Vincent's term of office the Haj traffic 
practically ceased. A few pilgrims from Central Asia 
(1300 in 1898) and other distant regions found their way 
yearly to Bombay, in the hope of proceeding to Mecca : but 
they were sent back every year to their homes, until the 
restrictions were removed and the traffic was re-opened. 

Upon the health of the police force the plague 
naturally exercised a disastrous efifect. A fairly high 
percentage of sickness was recorded in 1895 and was 



VI MR. R. H. VINCENT, CLE. 1893-1898 99 

ascribed chiefly to overcrowding in squalid tenements. 
The appearance of plague in the last quarter of 1896 
raised the death-roll of that year to 50 and increased the 
number of admissions to hospital by nearly 300. The 
experience of 1897 was worse. Eighty-two men died, of 
whom fifty-two were plague-victims : recruiting for the 
force entirely ceased. More than 3,000 admissions to 
hospital were recorded, some of the constables being 
obliged to undergo treatment there three or four times 
during the year. To make up in some degree for the 
deficit, the Commissioner was obliged to take men from 
the Ramoshi force, which supplies night-guards to 
shops and offices and is paid by the employers. Many 
of these semi-official watchmen also succumbed. Several 
years elapsed before the police-force recovered from the 
effects of the early years of the plague, when the loss of 
physical power of resistance to the disease, engendered 
by continuous overwork, was aggravated by the lack of 
commodious and sanitary lines and barracks. Those 
who, like the author, can recall the panic which pre- 
vailed in those years, and who day by day and night 
after night saw the sky above the Queen's road crimson 
with the glow of the funeral-pyres in the Hindu burning- 
ground, will not grudge a tribute of praise to the Indian 
constables who went about their work unflinchingly, 
while men were dying around them in hundreds and 
their own caste-fellows in the factories and the docks 
were flying from the scourge to their homes in the 
Deccan and the Konkan. 

In 1893 occurred numerous strikes of mill-hands, 
which interfered to some extent with the ordinary work 
of the police and caused loss to the textile industry. 
But these outbreaks were trivial by comparison with the 
grave Hindu-Muhammadan riots, which broke out on 
August nth in that year and afforded startling evidence 
of the deep sectarian antagonism which underlies the 
apparently calm surface of Indian social-life and may at 
any moment burst forth in fury. The predisposing 



100 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

cause of the disturbance must be sought in the rioting 
which had occurred earlier in the year at Prabhas Patan 
in Kathiawar during the celebration of the Muharram, 
when a Muhammadan mob had destroyed temples and 
murdered several Hindus. For a fortnight or more before 
the outbreak of violence in Bombay, agitators had been at 
work among the more fanatical elements of the population 
and were assisted by leading Hindus, who convened 
large mass-meetings to denounce the authors of the 
outrages at Prabhas Patan. This agitation aroused 
intense irritation, which was aggravated by the persistent 
demand of the Hindus that the killing of cows, and even 
of sheep and goats, should be prohibited by Government. 
The Moslem population became fairly persuaded that the 
Hindus had the sympathy of the authorities and that 
their religion was in danger. They determined to rise 
en masse in its defence. 

Shortly after midday on Friday, August llth, a large 
Muhammadan congregation emerged from the Jama 
Masjid and amid cries of Ditiy Din (" the Faith ") com- 
menced to attack an important Hindu temple in Hanuman 
Lane. The more respectable Moslem worshippers 
took no part in this attempt to desecrate the temple and 
held aloof from all violence. But the low-class mob, 
which was constantly reinforced, took control of the 
neighbourhood for the time being. Mr. Vincent had 
foreseen the possibility of an attack upon the Hanuman 
Lane temple and had kept a large proportion of his force 
on duty up to 3 a. m. on Friday morning — a precaution 
which resulted in postponing the rising of the mob for a 
few hours. When the disturbance began, all but a small 
body of European and Indian police had been withdrawn 
for a much-needed rest, and it fell to the lot of these few 
men to hold the rioters in check, until the arrival of rein- 
forcements drove the mob from the temple. Meanwhile 
the spirit of revenge spread rapidly, and within a short 
time the whole of Parel, Kamathipura, Grant road, 
Mazagon and Tank Bandar were given over to mob-law. 



VI MR. R. H. VINCENT, CLE. 1 893-1898 lOl 

The tumult was enormous. The Muhammadans 
attacked every Hindu they met ; the Hindus retaliated ; 
and then both sides rounded on the police. Stones and 
lathis (iron-shod bamboo cudgels) were the rioters* chief 
weapons, and they were used with murderous effect. 
Little care was taken by the Muhammadans to confine 
their attacks to the enemies of the Faith. Peaceful way- 
farers were brutally assaulted : tram-cars and carriages 
were murderously stoned ; post-office vans were attacked; 
messengers carrying money were savagely beaten and 
openly robbed. The crowds, raging from street to street, 
demolished Hindu temples, and dragged out and 
desecrated the idols in the most obscene and shameful 
manner. The Chilli-chors or Musalman drivers of public 
conveyances, most of whom hail from the Palanpur State 
in Kathiawar, stormed the Hindu quarter of Kumbharwada, 
while the Julhais or Muhammadan weavers from upper 
India attacked the Pardeshi Hindu milk-merchants and 
set fire to the milch-cattle stables in Agripada. All 
business was perforce suspended and the whole city was 
thrown into the greatest consternation. 

Noting the rapid spread of the disorder, Mr. Vincent 
applied early for military assistance with a view to 
restricting the area of rioting. At 4 p. m. two companies 
of the Marine Battalion under Colonel Shortland marched 
into the City and were followed in quick succession by 
the 1 0th Regiment N. I. under Colonel Forjett, son of 
Mr. Charles Forjett, by the Royal Lancashires under 
Colonel Ryley, and by a battery of Artillery. The 
Bombay Volunteer Artillery under Major Roughton and 
the Bombay Light Horse under Lieutenant Cuffe were 
also called out. The Government sent reinforcements of 
British and Indian troops from Poona, and detachments 
of armed police were also drafted into Bombay from 
Thana and other districts. The troops, which numbered 
three thousand with two guns, were under the orders of 
General Budgen. Eighteen European citizens were 
appointed Special Magistrates to assist the Presidency 



102 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

Magistrates, Mr. Cooper and Mr. Webb, who were on 
duty in the streets night and day. The Municipal 
Commissioner, Mr. H. A. Acworth, and the Health 
Officer, Dr. Weir, made strenuous efiforts to prevent the 
interruption of the sanitary service of the city, which in 
some wards temporarily broke down, and of the daily 
supply of food to the markets. One serious feature of 
the early part of the disturbance was the refusal of the 
butchers at Bandora to slaughter any cattle, and it 
needed prompt and tactful action on the part of 
Mr. Douglas Bennett, superintendent of municipal 
markets, to overcome their contumacy. 

The troops were posted in various parts of the city and 
were forced to open fire on several occasions owing to 
the defiant attitude of the mob, which was being con- 
stantly reinforced. A notable instance occurred at the 
well-known SuUiman Chauki in Grant road, where a 
detachment of native infantry was so furiously attacked 
that it had to fire several times to avoid being over- 
whelmed by the rioters. Despite these measures, the 
rioting and looting continued on August I2th in all parts 
of the city, and many murders and assaults occurred also 
on the 13th. From the evening of the latter date, how- 
ever, tranquillity gradually supervened, and eventually 
the efiforts of the authorities, aided by the prominent 
men of both communities, effected a reconciliation 
between the excited belligerents. 

The effects of the outbreak were for the time being 
serious. All business in the City was suspended for 
nearly ten days, and fifty thousand people, chiefly 
women and children, fled from Bombay to their homes 
up-country. About one hundred persons were killed, 
and nearly 800 were wounded, during the progress of the 
rioting, while the loss of property was enormous. The 
damage done to Hindu temples and Moslem mosques 
amounted respectively to Rs. 5I»300 and Rs. 23,200, 
exclusive of the property stolen from them, which was 
estimated to be worth nearly 2 lakhs of rupees. During 



VI MR. R.H. VINCENT, CLE. I893-I898 103 

and for a few days after the disturbances, when the 
police were fully occupied in efforts to restore order and 
in prosecuting fifteen hundred persons arrested during 
the rioting, a great many cases of robbery, house- 
trespass and theft occurred, which, though registered by 
the police, could not be investigated and were never 
brought to court. 

The second serious outbreak occurred in the last 
year of Mr. Vincent's term of office, and was due directly 
to the hostility of the public to the measures adopted by 
Government for combating the plague. The Julhais, 
or Jolahas, professional hand-weavers from the United 
Provinces, who have for many years formed a colony in 
the streets and lanes adjoining Ripon road, compose one 
of the most ignorant and fanatical sections of Muham- 
madans. The trouble commenced on March 9, 1 898, 
with an attempt by a party of plague-searchers to remove 
a sufferer from a Julhai house in Ripon cross road. The 
Julhais in a body took alarm, seized their lathis and any 
weapon that came to hand, and attacked a body of police 
who had been sent to keep order and protect the plague- 
authorities. The position rapidly became serious ; and 
as the mob refused to disperse and showed signs of 
increasing violence, the third Presidency Magistrate, 
Mr. P. H. Dastur, who had been summoned to the spot 
and had himself been slightly wounded by a stone, 
ordered the police to fire. This served for the moment 
to disperse the Julhai mob. But in a very short time the 
disorder spread to Bellasis, Duncan, Babula Tank, Grant, 
Parel, Falkland and Foras roads, where many Hindus 
were celebrating the last day of the annual Holi festival 
by idling and drinking. The rioters tried to set fire to 
the plague hospitals ; murdered two English soldiers of 
the Shropshire Regiment in Grant road; burned down 
the gallows-screen near the jail; and tried to destroy 
the fire-brigade station in Babula Tank road. On this 
occasion also the Muhammadan butchers at the Bandora 
slaughter-house refused to do their work, but were 



104 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

eventually forced to remain on duty by Mr. Douglas 
Bennett, who hurried to Bandora with a small body of 
native infantry and taught the refractory a sound lesson. 
An unpleasant feature of the rioting was the attacks by 
the mob on isolated Europeans, several of whom were 
protected in the pluckiest manner by Indians of the lower 
classes. The outbreak was quickly quelled by military, 
naval and volunteer forces, who were wisely called out 
on the first sign of trouble. By the following day peace 
was restored. The casualties were officially stated to be 
19 killed and 42 wounded, and the police arrested 247 
persons for rioting, of whom 205 were convicted and 
sentenced to varying terms of imprisonment. 

The Hindu-Muhammadan riots of 1 893 were directly 
responsible for the establishment in Western India of 
the annual public celebrations in honour of the Hindu god 
Ganpati, which subsequently developed into one of the 
chief features of the anti-British revolutionary movement 
in India.-^ The riots left behind them a bitter legacy of 
sectarian rancour, which Bal Gangadhar Tilak utilized 
for broadening his new anti-British movement, by enlist- 
ing in its support the ancient Hindu antagonism to Islam. 
" He not only convoked popular meetings in which his 
fiery eloquence denounced the Muhammadans as the 
sworn foes of Hinduism, but he started an organization 
known as the " Anti-Cow-Killing Society," which was 
intended and regarded as a direct provocation to the 
Muhammadans, who, like ourselves, think it no sacrilege 
to eat beef." As his propaganda grew, assuming steadily 
a more anti-British character, Tilak decided to invest it 
with a definitely religious sanction, by placing it under 
the special patronage of the elephant-headed god Ganesh 
or Ganpati. In order to widen the breach between 
Hindus and Muhammadans, he and his co-agitators 
determined to organize annual festivals in honour of the 
god on the lines which had become familiar in the 

I. The account which follows is taken, in some passages verbatim, 
from Sir V. Chirol's Indian Unrest, 1910. 



VI MR. R. H. VINCENT, CLE. 1893-1898 105 

annual Muhammadan celebration of the Muharrara. 
Their object was to make the procession, in which the 
god is borne to his final resting-place in the water, as 
offensive as possible to Moslem feelings by imitating 
closely the Muharram procession, when the tazias and 
tabuts, representing the tombs of the martyrs at Kerbela, 
are immersed in the river or sea. 

Accordingly, on the approach of the Ganpati 
festival in September, 1894, Tilak and his party in- 
augurated a Sarvajanik Ganpati or public Ganpati 
celebration, providing for the worship of the god in 
places accessible to the public ( it had till then been a 
domestic ceremony ), and arranging that the images 
of Ganpati should have their tnelas or groups of 
attendants, like the Musalman tolis attending upon the 
tabtits. The members of these melas were trained in the 
art of fencing with sticks and other physical exercises. 
During the ten days of the festival, bands of young 
Hindus gave theatrical performances and sang religious 
songs, in which the legends of Hindu mythology were 
skilfully exploited to arouse hatred of the " foreigner," 
the word mlenccha or " foreigner ** being applied equally 
to Europeans and Muhammadans. As the movement 
grew, leaflets were circulated, urging the Marathas to 
rebel as Shivaji did, and declaring that a religious 
outbreak should be the first step towards the over- 
throw of an alien power. As may be imagined, these 
Ganpati processions, which took place on the tenth day 
of the festival, were productive of much tumult and were 
well calculated to promote affrays with the Muham- 
madans and the police. A striking instance occurred in 
Poona, where a mela of 70 Hindus deliberately outraged 
Moslem sentiment by playing music and brawling out- 
side a mosque during the hour of prayer. 

These celebrations helped to intensify Tilak's 
seditious propaganda ; and although they are barely 
mentioned in the annual reports of the Police Commis- 
sioner, they had become firmly established in Bombay 

14 



I06 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE 

and other places by the date of Mr. Vincent's retirement, 
and were destined to impose a heavy burden of extra 
work on the police-force for several years to come. At 
the present date the public celebration of the Ganesh 
Chaturthi still takes place and necessitates special traffic 
arrangements, when the crowds pour out of the city to 
immerse the clay-images of the god in Back Bay. But 
the more disturbing political features of the festival have 
gradually disappeared. This change may be held to 
date roughly from Tilak's second trial for sedition and 
conviction in 1908, which dealt a severe blow to the 
seditious side of the movement. A few melas appeared 
in the following years ; but the strength of the movement 
was broken by the incarceration of the leader of the 
Extremists and by judicious action on the part of the 
divisional and detective police. 

This brief record of the period 1893 to 1898 will 
suffice to show that any improvement in the prevention 
and detection of crime, which might have been expected 
to follow on the increase in the numbers of the police 
force, was largely discounted by outbreaks of disorder 
and by the prevalence of a disastrous epidemic. With 
his police constantly being summoned to assist in plague- 
operations of a difficult character, and being forced in 
consequence of overwork and illness to seek constant 
treatment in hospital, the Commissioner was scarcely 
able to insist upon a standard of police-work suitable to 
normal times. In spite, however, of these difficulties and 
of additional work of a novel character arising out of 
the gradual spread of the anti-British revolutionary 
movement, the Bombay police under Mr. Vincenfs 
control contrived to achieve reasonable success in their 
dealings with the criminal elements of the population, 
and set an example of adherence to duty under very 
trying conditions which earned more than once the 
express approbation of the Bombay Government. 



i 




Mr. hartley KENNEDY 

[Photograph taken 20 years after retirement] 



CHAPTER Vn 

MR. HARTLEY KENNEDY, C.S.I. 
1899— 190I 

When Mr. Vincent left India at the end of 1898, 
to spend the remainder of his days in Switzerland, he 
was succeeded by Mr. Hartley Kennedy of the Bombay 
District Police. Mr. Kennedy took charge of the 
Commissioner's office on January 9th, 1899. Like his 
predecessor, he had to reckon with the continued 
presence of plague, and also with the effect upon the urban 
police administration of severe famine in various districts 
of the Presidency. These natural disasters synchronized 
with a severe slump in the Bombay textile industry, due 
chiefly to over-production and the consequent glutting of 
the China market, which at that date absorbed the bulk 
of the Bombay mill-products. According to a leading 
mill-owner, the industry in 1899 was in a most critical 
position ; nearly all the mills were closed on three days 
in the week, and some had altogether ceased working. 
A strike of mill-hands was threatened, which the 
Police were called upon, and managed, to settle before 
it came to a head. The position of affairs in 1901 was 
very little better. 

The police were thus faced with .an abnormal 
volume of crime resulting from disease, starvation and 
unemployment. In 1899 two real dacoities of the type 
common in up-country districts, perpetrated probably 
by Pardesis from Northern India, occurred in the suburbs 
and obliged the Commissioner to establish night-patrols 
of mounted and foot police in the north of the Island. 
The following year witnessed a marked increase of 
crime against property, resulting from high prices and 
unemployment. Famine-conditions were responsible for 
an abnormal number of cases of exposure of infants in 



I08 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

1899 and for many instances of robbery by means of dha- 
tura poisoning in 1900. But, apart from these temporary 
symptoms of economic disorder, the last decade of the 
nineteenth century witnessed a steady increase of cases 
of all kinds under the Indian Penal Code and mis- 
cellaneous laws. Cases under the Police Act would 
probably have shown a similar upward tendency, but 
for the fact that prosecutions were purposely avoided, in 
deference to the reluctance of the Presidency Magistrates 
to convict offenders on the sole evidence of police 
witnesses. It has always been difl&cult to find private 
persons willing to appear in court and give evidence 
in such matters. 

As in most parts of India, the number of false 
complaints brought to the police was considerable, many 
of these cases falling within the category of "maliciously 
false". The Commissioner estimated the proportion of 
false to true cases in 1900 at one in 375. The false com- 
plaint, supported by false evidence, has been a feature 
of the criminal administration of India from early days 
and adequately explains the reason why Europeans 
have always clung so strenuously to the right, 
secured to them by the criminal law, of being tried 
by a jury containing a majority of their own country- 
men. It is the only safeguard they possess against 
false prosecution and illegal conviction. Some such 
protection for the European minority is essential in a 
country, where the administration of justice by Indian 
courts has not reached so high and detached a level 
as it has in England. 

The year 1901 was prolific of murders, twenty-one 
cases being investigated by the police. Among the 
chief causes celehres was the murder in the streets by 
followers of H. H. the Aga Khan of certain Khojas belong- 
ing to the Asna Ashariya section, which had announced 
its determination to secede from the main body of Khojas. 
The precise reason for the murders is unknown. They 
may have been decided upon by one of the factions as a 



Vn MR. HARTLEY KENNEDY, C.S.I. 1899-1901 109 

protest against the constant absences of H. H. the 
Aga Khan, or on the other hand may have been 
intended by the party which supported His Highness 
as a celebration of his safe return from abroad. 
Faction feeling in the community was at the time running 
high, and the more fanatical of the Aga Khan's followers 
were incensed with those Khojas who were disinclined 
to subscribe blindly to the opinions on communal 
matters held by the more conservative section. His 
Highness himself, who happened to be in Europe on 
one of his periodical visits, had no knowledge whatever 
of the murder-plot; otherwise his influence would 
certainly have been directed towards restraining the 
fury of his Ismailia followers. He himself was much 
perturbed by the tragedy and gave Mr. Kennedy every 
assistance in the enquiry which followed. The three 
victims were stabbed to death in the streets, almost 
at the moment of his arrival, and the police found 
their time fully occupied in trying to calm the passions 
thus aroused. The murders produced such rancour 
between the Ismailia and the Asna Ashariya Khojas that, 
for many years afterwards, the police were obliged to 
prohibit the funerals of the latter passing through the 
recognized Khoja quarters to their separate grave-yard 
in Mazagon. It was not until 1913 that the Commissioner 
found himself justified in relaxing the more stringent 
precautions, owing to the passage of time and the 
prevalence of a better feeling between the two sections 
of Khojas. The knives, with which the murders were 
committed, were preserved for many years in one of the 
lockers in the inner room of the Commissioner's office, 
and were handed over to the Criminal Investigation 
Department as an exhibit for the museum, when that 
branch was reorganized in 1910. 

Most of the crime in respect of property was, as usual, 
committed by Mhar and Mang robbers from the Deccan, 
by the Wagris or gipsy tribes, by professional thieves 
and beggars from Kathiawar, and by north-country 



no THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

Hindus and Pathans. Bombay has a large floating popu- 
lation of these wanderers, who visit the city for criminal 
purposes, and, having attained their object, travel to 
other parts of India, where all trace of them is frequently 
lost. Among cases of special importance were the pro- 
secutions of two licensed dealers in arms and ammu- 
nition in 1899, a '^golden gang" or swindling case in which 
a respectable Indian firm was cheated of Rs. 63,000, and 
which was successfully investigated by Inspector (after- 
wards Superintendent) Sloane, and the conviction for 
sedition of the editor of a vernacular newspaper, the 
Gurakhi, which, as an organ of the revolutionary party 
in Western India, had indulged in violent anti-British 
propaganda. The effect of plague and famine con- 
ditions upon the activities of the police was apparent 
in the returns of recovery of stolen property; and 
their normal duty of watch and ward suffered also to 
some extent from the imposition of such emergent tasks 
as the registration, accommodation, feeding and re- 
patriation of a large number of war-refugees who arrived 
from the Transvaal in 1899. The restrictions upon the 
Haj traffic continued; but this did not absolve the 
police from the task of "shepherding" large numbers of 
returning pilgrims — the backwash of former pilgrimages 
— or of repatriating hundreds of poor and illiterate 
Moslems, who, knowing nothing of the stoppage of the 
traffic, arrived every year in Bombay in the hope of 
being allowed to embark for Jeddah. 

The total strength of the police-force remained 
unaltered during Mr. Kennedy*s term of office. In- 
cluding the constables attached to the Veterinary De- 
partment, the force numbered 21 18. The annual cost, 
however, had increased in 1900 to Rs. 792,959, in 
consequence of extra allowances and contingencies. 
These charges were met partly from imperial, partly 
from provincial, and partly from municipal and other 
revenues. The municipal contribution was recovered 
under section 62 of Bombay Act III of 1 888, and continued 



Vn MR. HARTLEY KENNEDY, C.S.I. 1899-1901 HI 

to be so till 1907, when under the provisions of Bombay 
Act III of that year the Government became responsible 
for the whole cost of the force. Besides the police-force 
proper, the Commissioner recruited and controlled a 
force of 1048 Ramoshis or night-watchmen, whose wages, 
as previously mentioned, were recovered from the 
individuals and firms employing their services. The 
Ramoshis as a class were not very satisfactory ; and 
though nominally under the supervision of the police- 
officers of the division or section in which their post 
lay, there was really no one to see whether they kept 
awake at night and really did their duty. Had there 
been any proper and comprehensive beat-system for 
the divisional constabulary, such as there is in London, 
the existence of a Ramoshi force would have been quite 
unnecessary: but the total number of police-constables 
was never sufficient to admit of the introduction of 
such a system. 

For administrative purposes, Bombay was composed 
in 1899 of the eleven police divisions mentioned below, 
which were sub-divided into sections or areas controlled 
by a "police-station". The staff of a station comprised 
usually an European inspector and sub-inspector and a 
number of subordinate native officers (jemadar, havildar, 
naik) and constables. 



Division 


Sections 


A 


Fort 


B 


Umarkhadi, Market, Mandvi 


C 


Bhuleshwar, Nal Bazar, Dhobi Talao 


D 


Girgaum, Khetwadi, Mahalakshmi and 




Walkeshwar. 


E 


Byculla, Mazagon, Kamathipura 


F 


Dadar, Sewri, Matunga, Parel 


G 


Worli, Mahim 


H and I 


Harbour and Docks 


K 


Detective Branch 


L 


Reserve (Armed and unarmed) 



112 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

Housing-accommodation was provided for only about 
one-tenth of the force. The Head Police Office at 
Crawford Market, which Colonel Wilson had so often 
asked for, was completed and occupied in 1899, and lines 
for 120 men had been built on the western boundary of 
the parade-ground adjacent to the Gokuldas Tejpal 
hospital. Stabling for twenty horses of the mounted 
police was also built, the main body of the mounted 
police being accommodated in the old Government 
House Bodyguard lines at Byculla. With the exception 
of the 200 men or so, who occupied the old police-lines 
in Byculla and the newly-erected quarters in the compound 
of the Head Police Office, the whole force was living in 
hired rooms of an undesirable and insanitary type in 
various parts of the city. The monthly house-allowance 
paid to constables barely sufficed to pay the rents of 
their squalid rooms, while in the case of the European 
officers it was quite insufficient to secure proper 
accommodation. The difficulty was acute in the A. 
division (Fort and Colaba), where suitable residential 
accommodation was extremely limited and fetched a 
high rent. To anyone, like the author of this book, 
who has seen the very unsuitable quarters in which most 
of the European and Indian police were obliged to reside 
at the beginning of the present century, it will always be 
a matter of surprise that the force accomplished as much 
as it did and that the death-roll among both Europeans 
and Indians was not far heavier. Even the comparatively 
modem buildings at Bazar Gate and Paidhoni left much 
to be desired in the way of reasonable space and ordinary 
comfort. The occupants of the Paidhoni station, which 
mounts guard over a crowded lower-class neighbourhood, 
possessed the additional disadvantage of an atmosphere 
heavy with the smells and miasmata of an Eastern city. 
It says much for the dura ilia of the British soldiers 
recruited for the Bombay police force that so many of 
them were able to live and carry on their work in these 
conditions without a permanent loss of health. 



vn Mr. hartley Kennedy, cs.i. 1899-1901 113 

The reiterated complaints of successive Commission- 
ers had impressed upon the Bombay Government the 
need for the proper housing of the force. But their 
wishes were dependent upon the state of the provincial 
exchequer, which after several years of plague and 
a series of disastrous famines was quite unable to 
provide money for police-accommodation schemes. A 
solution of the difficulty was, however, secured by the 
passing of Act IV of 1 898 (City Improvement Trust 
Act), under the provisions of which the newly-constituted 
Trust could be called upon by the Government 
to build quarters and barracks for the police in various 
parts of the Island. By 1 901 the Government had 
already formulated their first demands, and the engineers 
of the Trust were preparing plans and schemes for 
police stations, quarters and lines, in Colaba, Princess 
Street ( a new street-scheme of the Trust), Nagpada and 
Agripada and in other crowded localities. These 
buildings took many years to complete, and some of them 
in the northern suburbs had not been commenced in 
191 6. But the first step towards a comprehensive solution 
of the grave problem of police-accommodation was 
taken during Mr. Kennedy's regime^ when the City Im- 
provement Trust assumed the task which the Government 
with the best will in the world, found themselves quite 
unable to fulfil. 

Though his period of office was not long, Mr. 
Kennedy left his mark upon the police administration, 
and there are persons still alive who remember the 
energy and activity with which he tackled some of the 
evils of urban life. He was a sworn foe of gambling in 
any form, and had barely gripped the reins of office ere 
he commenced an offensive against the bagatelle-players, 
the cardsharpers and the dice-gamblers of the lower 
quarters. The divisional police learned to their cost 
that it did not pay to wink at gaming, and that the 
Commissioner, working through private agents of his 
own, possessed an uncomfortably accurate knowledge 

16 



114 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CI^P. 

of what was going on in various quarters of the city. 
The performances of one of his chief informers are still 
within the recollection of the oldest members of the 
force and of some of the superannuated gamblers of the 
old B. and C. divisions. The immediate result of Mr. 
Kennedy's action was a large increase of cases under 
the Gambling Act, sixty prosecutions being launched in 
the year 1900 alone. The effect of these prosecutions, 
however, was minimised by the Magistrates' practice of 
imposing merely a fine on conviction. Such fines acted 
as very little deterrent to men who dealt week by week 
with comparatively large -sums of money. In the case 
of the most inveterate gamblers a short term of 
imprisonment would probably have had a more salutary 
effect. 

Another problem, which occupied Mr. Kennedy's 
attention, was that of the beggars who infest Bombay. 
They comprised not only the thousands of able-bodied 
religious mendicants, who form an integral feature of 
Hinduism and are largely protected from official action 
by the religious atmosphere surrounding them, but also 
the still larger class of professional beggars of every 
sect, who descend on the city like locusts from the rural 
districts and do not hesitate, as opportunity occurs, to 
commit crime. In 1899 Mr. Kennedy raised the question 
of the best method of dealing with the latter class, and 
pointed out that daily prosecution, followed by the 
imposition of a small fine, failed entirely to effect any 
amelioration of the evil. He therefore decided on more 
drastic measures. In 1900 he deported 9,000 beggars to 
the territories of Indian Princes and 10,000 to various 
districts in British India. This wholesale expulsion 
caused a temporary improvement in the condition of the 
streets. But such deportations, to be really effective, 
must be carried on ruthlessly year by year ; and methods 
would have to be adopted to penalise beggars of 
an undesirable type, who dared to return after deportation. 
Mr. Kennedy's action was not pursued by his successors. 



VII MR. HARTLEY KENNEDY, C.S.1. 1899-1901 II5 

and the beggar-nuisance consequently continued 
unabated. In 1920 it had become so intolerable that a 
special committee of Government and Municipal 
representatives was appointed to study the problem in 
all its bearings and devise measures for its solution. 

In the matter of the immoral traffic in women Mr. 
Kennedy displayed equal activity and achieved more 
success. The foreign pimp and procurer, who swooped 
down at intervals upon Bombay to acquaint himself 
with the demand for fresh women and to relieve the 
European prostitutes of their earnings, met with no 
mercy at his hands. He used the provisions of the 
Aliens Act freely against them, deporting 30 of them 
in 1900 and 37 in 1901. Officers of the detective branch 
were entrusted specially with the duty of watching 
the European brothels, meeting the steamers of foreign 
shipping-companies, and marking down every Jewish 
trafficker who showed his nose in Bombay. It is only ^ 
quite recently that the Indian Government, in response 
to domestic and international opinion, have strengthened 
the provisions of the Foreigners Act, in order to give the 
police in Bombay and other large maritime cities more 
effective control over these disreputable and degraded 
persons: and as a result of the pressure of public 
opinion, endorsed by the League of Nations, the activities 
of the international trafficker are more restricted and 
more easily controlled than they were at the close of the 
nineteenth century. It is much to Mr. Kennedy's credit 
that, working with the unamended Act, he was able in 
two years to secure a definite reduction in the number 
of professional traffickers visiting Bombay. 

He paid constant attention also to the offence of 
kidnapping or procuring minor Indian girls for immoral 
purposes. It is well known that both Hindu and Muham- 
madan recruits for the prostitutes* profession are obtained 
from among the illegitimate children of courtesans, 
or from among female children adopted by prostitutes, 
or thirdly, by purchase from agents who travel throughout 



n6 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

Gujarat, Central India, Rajputana and other districts, 
picking up superfluous and unwanted girls of tender age 
for a small sum, sometimes as little as Rs. 5 or Rs. 6, 
and then selling them at a profit to brothel-keepers in 
the large cities and towns. Leaving out of consideration 
the custom, prevalent among Maratha Kunbis and Mhars, 
of dedicating their female children to the god Khandoba, 
which in practice condemns the girls to a life of pros- 
titution, and the customs of degraded nomadic tribes like 
the Kolhatis, Dombars, Harnis, Berads and Mang Garudas, 
who habitually prostitute their girls, it may be said that 
among the lower social strata in India female life is held 
very cheap. A daughter is apt to be regarded rather as 
a domestic calamity, owing largely to the heavy expense 
usually involved in getting her married. Cases therefore 
often occur of young girls being abandoned by their 
relatives, who are unable to provide the funds required 
for their regular betrothal ; and these little derelicts 
sometimes drift into brothels, where they are fed, clothed 
and taught singing and dancing until they reach puberty, 
when the brothel-keeper arranges to sell their first favours 
for a round sum to some well-to-do libertine. Muhammadan 
prostitutes, who are numerous throughout India and range 
from the inmate of the low-class brothel to the wealthy 
courtesan, who earns a high fee for her singing, occupies 
well-furnished quarters, and drives in her own motor-car 
or carriage, are recruited in the same way. In one case, 
which occurred a few years ago, a lower class Moplah of 
the Malabar coast, having borrowed money at a high rate 
of interest to provide dowries for his two elder daughters 
and being unable to raise any further sum for his third 
daughter's betrothal, sold her outright to a Bombay 
brothel-keeper for Rs. 40. The girl was about eight years 
of age when she entered the brothel, and by the age of 
thirteen she was helping to support her worthless father 
and two young brothers out of her earnings as a prostitute. 
Mr. Kennedy also pointed out to Government that 
year by year " scores of young girls, " belonging chiefly to 



VII MR. HARTLEY KENNEDY, C.S.I. 1899-1901 II7 

Gujarat and Kathiawar, were either picked off the streets 
by native pimps of both sexes or were, as mentioned 
above, brought down from rural areas by regular 
traffickers and sold to the local brothel-keepers for sums 
ranging from Rs. 10 to Rs. 50. In many cases the police 
rescued these waifs and restored them to their homes : 
but they could not make much headway against a 
system which had attained such large proportions. 
Moreover, in addition to the difficulty of tracing the 
girls* relatives in a country like India, their task was 
not rendered easier by the absence of any strong public 
opinion against such practices, and by the non-existence 
of properly organized orphanages and homes. In several 
instances girls were discovered prostituting themselves 
under compulsion from a male '* bully " or female 
brothel-keeper ; and in such cases, as well as in cases 
of kidnapping, every effort was made by the police, 
under Mr. Kennedy's orders, to arrest the offenders and 
bring them to trial. Wherever it was impossible to 
secure the conviction of an offender under the Indian 
Penal Code, Mr. Kennedy had resort to the provisions of 
Chapter VIII of the Criminal Procedure Code. Here he 
met with more success than his predecessor, who, as 
already mentioned, complained that the Magistrates 
required evidence under that chapter which it was 
extremely difficult to procure. Mr. Kennedy found in 
Chapter VIII, C. P. C. an invaluable weapon against 
*' bullies " and other bad characters of the same type, 
whom it was inexpedient or impossible to charge with 
an offence under the Penal Code ; and the Magistrates 
showed no objection whatever to supporting the action 
of the police in such cases. Thus for three years a very 
wholesome check was placed upon this deplorable traffic, 
at a time when there was little articulate Indian 
opinion to support the activity of the Commissioner. 
It was not till twelve or thirteen years later that the 
Indian Government was invited to consider Bills intro- 
duced by non-official Indian members of the Legislature, 



118 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

designed to check or suppress both the immigration 
of European unfortunates and the swadeshi traffic in 
minor Indian girls, 

Mr. Kennedy's personal activities during the earlier 
months of his Commissionership were to some extent 
reminiscent of the methods of Mr. Forjett. He is said 
to have sometimes assumed a disguise — the full-dress 
of an Arab or the burka or covering of a Musalman 
pardah-nashin, — and thus attired to have wandered about 
the city after nightfall in company with one of his agents. 
He would pay surprise visits in this way to various 
police-stations and chaukis, in order to discover at first 
hand what sort of work his European and native officers 
were doing ; and all ranks learned to fear the con- 
sequences of their negligence or other shortcomings being 
discovered by the Commissioner and performed their 
duties with greater caution and zeal. He made him- 
self feared by the evil-doer and the lazy, who tried 
occasionally to forestall him by obtaining previous 
information of his nocturnal visitations. They met, how- 
ever, with little success ; the Commissioner was more than 
a match for them. These constant surprise visits during 
1899 and 1900 enabled him to keep his finger on the 
pulse of the city and to checkmate the criminal on 
several occasions. During the greater part of his term 
of office, however, an injury to one of his ankles, which 
produced a limp, practically deprived him of the power 
to pass unnoticed in disguise. The lower classes thence- 
forth knew him as Langada Kandi Saheb, i. e. * the lame 
Mr. Kennedy *, and he is thus spoken of to this day by 
the old law-breakers and disreputables who recollect his 
efforts to bring them to book. 

Short as was his tenure of the Commissioner's ap- 
pointment, Mr. Kennedy managed to inspire the unworthy, 
whether belonging to the police-force or to the lower- 
class urban population, with a wholesome fear of 
retribution ; and he spared no effort to tighten up the 
divisional police administration, to discover by personal 



Vn Mr. hartley KENNEDY, C.S.L 1899-1901 II9 

inquiry the character of his subordinates, and to place a 
check upon immorality. The discipline which he 
inculcated in the police force was evident at the census 
of 1901, when, in response to the request of the census 
authorities for assistance in enumerating the large 
cosmopolitan population of the city, he placed his 
European police ofl&cers in charge of the census-sections, 
directed the Sirdar Mir Abdul Ali to secure the co-opera- 
tion of the leaders of the various sections and castes 
among the lower classes, and made the divisional police 
responsible on the actual night of the census for count- 
ing the large army of homeless and wandering people, 
who are a permanent feature of the capital of Western 
India. Mr. Lovat Eraser, then editor of the Times of 
India, wrote a graphic account in his paper of this 
" Counting by Candle-light *\ and paid a tribute to the 
thoroughness of the census organization. The author 
of this book, who happened to be in charge of the urban 
census, under the orders of the Provincial Superintendent, 
Mr. R. E. Enthoven, can testify truly thathis plans for 
the enumeration could not have been successful without 
the active assistance of a police-force inspired by its 
chief with a high standard of efficiency. 



CHAPTER Vm 

Mr. h. G. Gell, m.v.o. 
1902— -1909 

When Mr. Kennedy left Bombay on furlough pre- 
paratory to retirement, his place was taken by Mr. 
Herbert G. Gell, who had held the substantive appoint- 
ment of Deputy Commissioner since 1 884, and on three 
occasions had acted for short periods as Commissioner. 
" Jel Saheb," as the Indian constables called him, was 
thus no stranger to the police-force or to Bombay, when 
he took charge of the Commissioner's office. So far as 
personal popularity with all classes was concerned, 
the Government could not have made a happier selection. 
In his younger days Mr. Gell had been a good cricketer 
and the best racket-player in Bombay ; and while this 
counted in his favour chiefly with his own countrymen, 
his genial address and straight-forwardness commended 
themselves equally to Europeans and Indians. During 
his term of ofl&ce, which lasted a little more than seven 
years, he was granted furlough twice — in 1904 when Mr. 
Michael Kennedy, afterwards Inspector-General of Police, 
Bombay Presidency, carried on his duties, and again in 
1906 when Mr. W. L. B. Souter, a son of Sir Frank Souter, 
acted as locum tenens* During Mr. Cell's first year of 
office, the Deputy Commissioner's post was filled by 
Superintendent J. Crummy, a good police officer of the 
old type, who joined the force as a constable in 1866 and 
finally retired from the service in 1903. He was succeeded 
by Mr. R. P. Lambert (1903-1905)* Mr. Reinold, who died 
prematurely, and Mr. R. M. Phillips (1905-09), all of 
whom belonged to the Imperial Indian Police service. 

The years of Mr. Cell's administration were fraught 
with anxiety and difficulties of various kinds. Social and 
semi-political events like the festivities in connexion with 





Mr. H. G. GELL 



Mr. H. G. cell, M.V.O. 1902-1909 121 

the Coronation of King Edward VII and the visit of the 
Duke and Duchess of Connaught in 1903, the arrival of 
the Prince and Princess of Wales in 1905, and the visit 
of the Amir Habibullah of Afghanistan in 1907, imposed 
much extra work upon the force. On the whole, however, 
they probably caused the Commissioner less real anxiety 
than the Muharram riots of 1904, the Bombay Postal 
strike of 1906, the mill-hand strikes of 1907 and 1908, the 
serious Tilak riots of 1908, and last but not least the 
strike of the Bombay Indian constabulary in 1907. Besides 
these symptoms of local discontent, the Commissioner 
and his somewhat old-fashioned detective agency had to 
grapple with a constantly growing stream of enquiries, 
reports and references, arising out of the spread of the 
dangerous Indian revolutionary movement, which was 
partly fostered and directed by men of extreme views 
living in France and America. 

The baneful activities of Krishnavarma and the India 
House in London, of the brothers Savarkar, of Bal 
Gangadhar Tilak in the Deccan, and of the anarchists 
of Bengal, had many ramifications in India, and, coupled 
with the malignant incitements to sedition disseminated 
by certain vernacular newspapers, imposed a large burden 
of confidential and secret work upon the various provincial 
and urban police-forces. Some of these were but 
poorly equipped to cope with this secret menace to the 
State. Bombay from its proximity to the Deccan, which 
was the focus of intrigue in western India, and from its 
position as the chief port of arrival from Europe, had an 
important part to play in the official struggle against the 
revolutionary movement. The difficulties which beset 
Mr. Cell's administration resulted largely from the fact 
that he was working with a machine designed for dealing 
mainly with ordinary urban crime against person and 
property, and numerically inadequate even for that 
purpose. A thorough reorganization in respect of 
personnel, numbers and pay was required to render the 
Bombay police force capable of dealing effectively with 
16 



122 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

the problems of the early years of the twentieth century. 

The total numbers of the force in 1902 were 2,126 and 
the annual cost Rs. 773,580. The numbers remained 
practically stationary during Mr. Cell's regime, despite a 
great expansion of the residential area and a steady 
increase of population during the first decade of the 
present century. The prolonged visitation of the plague 
led many of the richer Indian merchants to forsake their 
old family-houses in the crowded and low-lying parts of 
the city and to seek a new domicile on Malabar and 
Cumballa hills, which had previously been occupied 
almost wholly by European residents. Many of the less 
well-to-do citizens sought new quarters in the empty areas 
( the F and G divisions ) in the north of the Island. The 
Commissioner drew the attention of Government in 1 903 
to the alterations which were taking place in Mahim, 
Sion, Matunga, Naigaon and adjacent parts, and 
emphasized the consequent need of more police for watch 
and ward. His view was corroborated by the census taken 
by the Muncipal Health authorities in 1906, which showed 
that the total population of Bombay had increased by 
more than 200,000 since 1901, the increase being general 
over all sections of the City and Island. In the light of 
these facts a revision of the police establishment was 
obviously necessary, and but for two events of primary 
importance it would probably have taken the form of 
spasmodic increments to the existing strength and small 
enhancements in the salaries and allowances of the 
constabulary. 

The first important event was the publication in 190S 
of the report of the Police Commission appointed by Lord 
Curzon and presided over by Sir Andrew Frazer. Of the 
Indian police service generally the report was highly 

condemnatory, declaring it to be * far from efficient 

defective in training and organization inadequately 

supervised and generally regarded as corrupt and 

oppressive.' Though these strictures referred chiefly to 
the district police forces of the various provinces, it was 



VIII MR. H. G. GELL, M.V.O. 1902-1909 123 

admitted that the police organization of the large cities 
required considerable overhauling. The Commissioners 
of Police in Calcutta, Bombay and Madras were therefore 
instructed to submit proposals for a thorough reorganiz- 
ation, based mutatis mutandis upon the broad lines laid 
down by the Police Commission. Owing to pressure of 
work and other reasons Mr. Gell did not submit his 
proposals for reform for more than two years after the 
publication of the report of Sir A. Frazer's Commission, 
and when they eventually reached the Bombay Govern- 
ment, the latter found it impossible to accept them. 
Moreover, circumstances connected with the outbreak 
and handling of the Tilak riots of July, 1908, led 
Government to believe that the police force needed a 
far more comprehensive reorganization than was con- 
templated by the Commissioner. 

In September, 1908, therefore, the Governor, Sir 
George Clarke, (afterwards Lord Sydenham) appointed 
a special committee of three officials— Mr. (afterwards 
Sir William) Morison of the Indian Civil Service, 
Mr. S. M. Edwardes, also a member of the I. C. S., and 
Mr. Pheroze H. Dastur, 2nd Presidency Magistrate— to 
scrutinize Mr. GeWs proposals, to take any evidence 
that might seem necessary, and finally to submit detailed 
proposals for the numerical strength, pay and duties of 
the various branches of the Police force. This committee 
held several meetings in September and October, examined 
the Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner and other 
members of the force, as well as certain leading citizens, 
and submitted its report at the end of October, 1908. The 
policy and proposals therein advocated met with the 
approval of the Bombay Government ; but the further step 
of introducing the changes in the constitution of the force 
thereby involved, was not undertaken until after Mr. Cell's 
departure on leave in 1909. The broad details of the 
scheme eventually sanctioned in September, 1910, can be 
explained more suitably in the next chapter, which deals 
with the administration of Mr, GelFs successor. The 



124 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

facts mentioned above show the reason why the actual 
numbers of the force at the date of Mr. Cell's departure 
were practically the same as they had been in 1902. 

The second event of importance was the police 
strike, which obliged the Bombay Government to intro- 
duce revised rates of pay for the constabulary in advance 
of the general reorganization of the force. Rents in the 
city and the cost of living had been steadily rising since 
1900, and the Indian police-constables, in common with 
other low-paid servants of Government, found the burden 
of supporting themselves and their families almost 
intolerable. The majority of them were Konkani 
Marathas — the large class which supplies the bulk of the 
mill-labour and the menial stafif in public and private 
offices, and they could not remain unaffected by the 
general demand for higher wages which was being 
made at this time to all employers of labour. Their 
superior officers had assured them more than once that 
their appeals were being favourably considered and that 
some concessions would be granted, while the open 
sympathy with their circumstances and their difficulties 
shown by Mr. Souter, when acting as Commissioner in 
1906, inspired them with the idea that their claim to 
increased pay was absolutely unquestioned and deserved 
instant confirmation by Government. They were also 
affected to some extent by the constant and often bitter 
criticism of the authorities, which appeared in the native 
Press, and by the incitements of professional agitators 
who urged them to follow the lead of the postmen, who 
went on strike in 1906, and adopt more overt measures to 
secure their demands. The unrest thus created culmi- 
nated in a strike of a large proportion of the constabulary 
in 1907. Refusing to don their uniforms and report 
themselves for duty until Government assented to their 
request for higher pay, the men assembled in a body on 
the Esplanade maidatiy where they were addressed by the 
chief agitators in their own ranks. The Commissioner 
was left to carry out the routine-work of the force with 



vm Mr. h. g. cell, m.v.o. 1902-1909 125 

the help of the European police, a certain number of 
constables who remained loyal, and the comparatively- 
useless body of Ramoshis. In brief, the police adminis- 
tration was practically at a standstill. 

By resorting to a strike, the men had rendered them- 
selves individually liable to prosecution ; and when the 
strike was declared, Mr. Gell, with the approval of 
Government, caused some of the ring-leaders to be arrest- 
ed. But the Bombay Government was aware that their 
resort to illegitimate action was the outcome of a real 
grievance, which could only be redressed by enhancing 
the pay of the various grades. Consequently, of the men 
arrested, only two were subsequently placed before the 
Courts and sentenced to pay a nominal fine ; and they 
and others were afterwards reinstated in the force. 
Simultaneously the Government sanctioned the long- 
delayed increase in the pay of the constables and native 
officers. The old fourth-grade constable on Rs. lo per 
mensem disappeared for ever, the monthly pay of the 
lowest rank being fixed at Rs. 12 and of the three upper 
ranks at Rs. 13, Rs. 14, and Rs. 15. The pay of the 
havildars was also augmented. The announcement of the 
new rates put an end to the impasse caused by the men's 
defection, and within a few days the force was again 
working with full vigour. 

It was unfortunate that the concessions in respect of 
pay and allowances should have had the appearance of 
being extorted from the authorities by methods which, 
often objectionable in the case of private employees, are 
deplorable in the case of men appointed to be guardians 
of the public peace. The Bombay Government was not 
so much to blame for procrastination as might at first 
appear. They were perfectly prepared to grant the 
required increments of salary to the lower ranks of the 
force : but they wished to treat the revision of salaries 
as part and parcel of the general reorganization, rendered 
necessary by the Report of the Police Commission and 
by the increase of work resulting from the growth of the 



126 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

City. They had instructed the Commissioner to formulate 
proposals for reorganization, which had not been 
submitted at the date of the strike, and which, when they 
eventually received them in 1908, they found themselves 
unable to approve without further enquiry by an in- 
dependent committee. The responsibility for the delay in 
granting relief to the constabulary cannot therefore 
be assigned wholly to the Bombay Government. A more 
rapid effort to prepare without delay a comprehensive 
scheme of reform might have helped to prevent the 
occurrence of an episode, which did not redound to the 
credit of the force. 

The result of the revision of the pay of native officers 
and constables, secured in the manner described above, 
was an increase of the annual cost of the force from 
Rs. 773,000 odd in 1902 to Rs. 975,000 in 1908. These 
charges fell wholly upon the Provincial Government, in 
accordance with the provisions of the Bombay Police 
Charges Act of 1907. Since 1872 the cost of the force 
had been borne partly by Government and partly by the 
Bombay Municipality under Act III of 1872 and the sub- 
sequent Act III of 1888. The arrangement did not prove 
wholly satisfactory, and the Municipal Corporation 
evinced a tendency to deprecate increased expenditure on 
a department over which it had no direct control. After 
much discussion, therefore, between the Bombay Govern- 
ment and the Corporation's representatives, Bombay 
Act III of 1907 was passed by the legislature. Under 
this enactment the Government was pledged to pay the 
whole charges of the police-force, and the Municipal 
Corporation was bound in return to shoulder the cost 
of primary education and, within certain limits, the cost 
of medical relief in the City. This arrangement in no 
wise absolved the Bombay Port Trust from its liability 
to pay a moiety of the charges of the harbour police 
and the entire cost of the police employed in the docks. 
On the other hand it enabled the Government to sanction, 
without the intervention or concurrence of the Corpora- 



VIII MR. H. G. CELL, M.V.O. 1902-1909 12/ 

tion, such additional expenditure as might be involved 
in a thorough scheme of reorganization. When the 
latter scheme had been introduced by Mr. Gell's 
successor, the improvement and standardization of the 
uniform of the European officers of the force and the 
abolition of the old municipal helmet-badges followed 
naturally upon the settlement of the changes embodied 
in the Act. 

Another important matter in the legislative sphere 
was the passing of the Bombay City Police Act IV of 
1902, which consolidated the provisions of the preceding 
enactments and vested the whole control of the police 
force in the Commissioner. The Act removed the 
difficulties of which Mr. Kennedy had complained in 
1898, and furnished the police with all the legal authority 
required for the performance of watch and ward duties, 
the investigation of offences, and the arrest and detention 
of wrong-doers. 

During the first decade of the twentieth century the 
volume of crime steadily increased. The annual average 
number of cases for the quinquennial periods ending in 
1900 and 1905 was respectively 32,411 and 30,814 : in 1908 
the police dealt with nearly 41,000 cases. The number of 
persons arrested likewise increased from 37,000 in 1900 to 
44,000 in 1908, while the number of convictions secured in 
1908 was 41,500, as compared with 19,900 in 1880 and 
34,450 in 1900. The value of property stolen in 1880 was 
estimated at Rs. 146,000; in 1900 at Rs. 333,000; and in 
1908 at Rs. 353,000 ; while the percentage of recoveries 
during Mr. Cell's regime decreased from 59 in 1902 to 37 
in 1905 and rose again to 56 in 1908. The annual migra- 
tion of the people to plague-camps during the hot 
months still offered special facilities to the professional 
housebreaker, and was occasionally responsible, as 
in 1903, for an abnormal number of thefts. A 
somewhat similar epidemic of robberies resulted 
from the immigration of famine-stricken refugees in 
1906. Many of these cases defied investigation, as 



t28 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

they were not immediately reported; and in the 
case of thefts from houses temporarily vacated 
during the season of heavy plague-mortality, the losses 
were often not reported to the police until the owners 
returned two or three months afterwards to their homes. 

These failures, which may be ascribed in some 
measure to the absence of a proper beat-system, were 
counter-balanced by the capture of two notorious 
professional house-breakers, one of whom was a Parsi, 
Nanabhai Dinshaw Daruwala, and the other a Borah 
named Tyebali Alibhai. Nanabhai was a criminal of 
more than ordinary courage and address, who had 
gathered around him a gang of clever assistants and 
had contrived to defy justice for more than twenty 
years. He had amassed considerable wealth by his 
house-breaking exploits, and as he spent his ill-gotten 
gains freely and was ready to pay ample hush-money, 
he secured immunity from arrest for many years. His 
capture was long sought without success. But at last, 
in 1907, the detective police managed to run him to 
ground, and, despite the offer of heavy bribes for his 
release, secured his conviction and imprisonment for 
a long term of years. The Borah, Tyebali, was a man 
of much less abiltity, and confined his attention almost 
entirely to the houses of respectable residents on 
Malabar Hill. In this area he carried out a series of 
daring robberies both by day and night, and had disposed 
of much valuable plate and jewellery before he was 
finally arrested and convicted in 1908. 

Hardly a year passed without one or more murders, 
the number which occurred in 1902 and 1904 being 
respectively 18 and 20. Most of them were of the usual 
type — murder for the purpose of robbery or as the punish- 
ment of a wife or mistress for infidelity. With a few 
exceptions, all these cases were successfully investigated 
by the detective branch of the force. A prolonged and 
complicated series of forgeries, devised and carried out 
by eighteen men possessed of education and private 



vin Mr. h. g. cell, m.v.o. 1902-1909 129 

means, was cleverly brought home to the culprits by 
Superintendent Sloane, who was appointed head of the 
detective branch on the retirement of the Sirdar Mir 
Abdul Ali in 1903.^ 

Neither the divisional nor the detective police, how- 
ever, succeeded in discovering the origin of the disastrous 
cotton-fires which took place at Colaba in 1906. The 
value of the cotton destroyed or rendered unsaleable 
was estimated at 40 lakhs of rupees. Since that date 
similar conflagrations have occurred at intervals, in 
circumstances which seem to justify more than a 
suspicion of deliberate incendiarism. But in spite of 
special precautions and special police arrangements 
no practical proof of complicity has ever been obtained. 
In 191 3 these fires at the Colaba cotton-green were so 
frequent and so disastrous that the Bombay Government 
appointed a special committee under the chairmanship 
of Mr. S. M. Edwardes, the Commissioner of Police at 
that date, to investigate the circumstances and origin of 
the conflagrations and make proposals for minimising 
the risk of them in future. The result of that committee's 
enquiry will be mentioned on a later page ; but it may 
be here stated that on each occasion of these wholesale 
conflagrations at the old Colaba cotton-green the police 
found it very difficult to initiate and prosecute inquiries 
about firms or individuals, suspected of aiding and 
abetting incendiarism, owing to the disinclination of the 
insurance companies, with whom the cotton was insured, 
to assist the inquiries or register a formal complaint in 
respect of their losses. The system of underwriting 
adopted by all the fire insurance companies in Bombay 
resulted in the net loss incurred in any fire being divided 
among so many parties that the actual sum paid out by 
the company concerned was comparatively trivial, and 

I. The Sirdar served for 38 years, having joined the force as a 
second-class Jemadar in 1865. Apart from his work as a detect- 
ive, he is remembered as the founder of the Maratha Plague 
Hospital, which he organised and opened in 1898. 
17 



130 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

did not, in their view, justify the adoption of proceedings, 
which might have frightened the cotton-merchants into 
refusing to insure their goods with them in future. Conse- 
quently, the only chance the police had of discovering 
an ojQFence was to arrest an incendiary in flagrante delicto, 
and this was rendered practically impossible by the 
character of the cotton, which will smoulder unseen for 
some time before it bursts into flame, by the enormous 
width and height of the stacks of cotton-bales, crowded 
on far too small an area on the edge of a main 
thoroughfare, and by the ease with which any person 
could escape detection in the labyrinth formed by the 
\2ino\is jethas or collections of bales. 

The question of traffic regulation in the streets 
demanded attention during this period. By 1903 the 
number of public and private conveyances in Bombay 
had risen to nearly 16,000, and although the style and 
condition of the victorias plying for hire showed con- 
siderable improvement,^ rash driving was exceedingly 
common and street accidents had largely increased. The 
position was aggravated by a steady rise in the number 
of motor-vehicles, necessitating the creation of a special 
branch of the police-force for the registration of motor- 
cars and the issue of driving-licenses. One of the first 
owners of a car in Bombay during the closing years of the 
nineteenth century was the late Mr. B. H. Hewitt, one of 
the Municipal Engineers j and after 1900 his example 
was followed by a constantly increasing number of 
residents, some of whom showed a tendency to drive at 
excessive speed and to pay little attention to the orders 
of the police on traffic-duty. Thus, between 1905 and 
1907 more than 900 new motor-cars appeared on the streets, 
and in the latter year the traffic-problem was further 
complicated by the abolition of the old horse-tramcars 
and the opening on May /th of the electric tramways. 

In these circumstances the incapacity of the average 
Indian constable to regulate traffic in the European 
I. G. R. J. D. 3051 of June 4th. 1903. 



vm Mr. h. g. cell, m.v.o. 1902-1909 131 

manner became more marked, and some of the Divisional 
Superintendents had to spend more time than they could 
really spare in trying to inculcate an aptitude for 
directing and controlling pedestrian and wheeled traflBc. 
Their efforts were not very successful, and it was 
generally felt that, although a few Indian officers and 
constables had profited by tuition and showed improve- 
ment in this branch of their duties, the presence of 
European police was absolutely essential at crowded 
points during the busy hours of the day. As previously 
remarked, the difficulties of the Indian constable were 
much aggravated by the studied disregard of his 
orders and warnings, frequently shown by his own 
compatriots. 

As regards the beggar nuisance, Mr. Gell was dis- 
posed to continue the policy of his predecessor; and 
accordingly in 1902 he deported no less than 10,000 
mendicants, mostly belonging to the territories of Indian 
Princes, But this procedure was peremptorily forbidden 
by Government in the following year, on the grounds 
that deportees of this class were prolific disseminators of 
plague infection. After 1903, therefore, the expulsion 
of beggars ceased, with the result that Bombay became 
once again a popular resort for penurious and homeless 
vagrants from all parts of India. 

Efforts to rid Bombay of the foreign procurers, who 
subsisted on the traffic in European women, continued 
unabated. In 1909 the Commissioner deported 29 of 
these rascals; in 1903, 30; in 1904, 20; and in 1905, 2. 
No action was recorded in 1906 and 1907, but ten men 
were deported in 1908. These figures indicate in some 
measure the dimensions of the traffic and the lucrative 
nature of the business. The prospect of trivial profits 
would scarcely have persuaded 81 aliens within a 
period of four years to risk the chances of arrest and 
deportation. The history and description of these 
foreigners were recorded in the files of the detective 
branch, and in most cases their finger-print impressions 



132 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

were taken by the Criminal Identification Bureau, which 
under the auspices of Mr. Kirtikar and his assistant 
was rapidly acquiring a reputation for useful work. 

The daily work of the police in the courts was 
directly affected by the establishment in 1904 of three 
benches of honorary magistrates in Girgaum, Mazagon 
and Dadar, which were intended to afford relief to the 
Chief Presidency Magistrate, Mr. J. Sanders Slater, and 
his three colleagues in the disposal of unimportant 
police cases. A fourth bench was established at the 
Esplanade Police Court in 1908, to deal with petty cases 
from the Harbour and Docks. These benches were 
empowered to deal with cases arising under certain 
sections of the Bombay City Police Act, the Prevention 
of Cruelty to Animals Act, the Public Conveyance Act, 
the Gambling Act, the Railways Act, and under section 
352 of the Indian Penal Code. They proved very con- 
venient to the police of the outlying F and G divisions, 
who were formerly obliged to bring offenders and 
witnesses all the way to the stipendiary court in Mazagon, 
but they involved much extra work for the European 
police officers of the various sections, who had frequent- 
ly to attend both the stipendiary and honorary magis- 
trates* courts. The latter commenced their work daily 
at 8-45 a. m., and the stipendiary courts at II a. m., so 
that European officers of busy sections had often to 
spend most of the working day in the courts. During 
their absence the registration and investigation of com- 
plaints at the police-station had perforce to remain in 
abeyance. One of the most urgent requirements during 
Mr. Geirs Commissionership was the creation of properly 
equipped and staffed police-stations, at which, no matter 
what the volume of work in the courts, at least one 
superior police officer would be found on duty at any 
hour of the day or night, ready to record complaints 
and initiate inquiries. The establishment of the benches 
of honorary magistrates served to accentuate the in- 
adequacy of the old police system and the inability of 



f 




RAO SAHEB DAJl GANGAJl RANE 



vm Mr. h. g. gell, M.V.0. 1902-1909 133 

the force to cope with a greatly increased volume of 
case-work. 

A serious obstacle to any re-arrangement of duties 
was the illiteracy of the great majority of the Indian 
subordinate officers and constabulary. As early as 
1868 the Bombay Government asked the Commissioner 
to mention in his annual reports the progress made by the 
police in simple reading and writing ; to which the 
Commissioner replied that as each member of the force 
was on actual duty for twelve hours out of the twenty- 
four, any form of education was impracticable. In 1885, 
when the total strength of the force was 1,721, there 
were only 1 13 officers and 362 men able to read and 
write, and of these only the European officers were 
literate in English. These numbers had slightly increased 
by the end of the following decade, in consequence 
presumably of the gradual spread of primary education. 
The numbers of officers and men able to read and write 
in 1896 were respectively 194 and 570. Occasionally 
an Indian with practically no education would rise to 
a high grade in the force by sheer natural ability 
and devotion to duty. Such men were the Subehdars 
Ramchandra and Daji and Inspector Khan Bahadur 
Sheik Ibrahim Imam, of whom the latter served for 47 
years and on his retirement in 1911 was granted by the 
Bombay Government a special jagir (landed estate) 
in the Poona District, in recognition of his long and 
meritorious service.^ The value of these men lay in 
their extraordinary knowledge of the urban population, 
their flair for criminal investigation, and their power 
of mediation between conflicting sects. Their lack 
of education and their ignorance of English debarred 
them from affording any relief to the European police 
in the registration of complaints and the prosecution 
of offenders in the courts. 

I. He received the title of Khan Bahadur in 1904 and the King's 
Police Medal in 1910. 



134 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

No effort had been made to open a career in the 
force for literate Indians of the upper-classes, and it 
became obvious during Mr. Gell's regime that in this 
respect the composition of the force had not kept abreast 
of the spirit of the age. While the general standard of 
literacy in Bombay had widened appreciably, and the 
growth of population had resulted in an increased 
number of cases of all kinds, the bulk of the Indian 
element in the force remained ignorant of English and 
was also often uneducated in its own vernaculars. Con- 
sequently the whole responsibility for the routine duties 
of the force fell upon a limited number of European 
officers, many of whom could claim no higher standard 
of education than that provided for the rank and file of 
the British Army. Among the latter, however, there 
were men of natural ability who by dint of application 
and study at odd moments had acquired a fair standard 
of general knowledge and could frame a good report of 
facts. To this category belonged men like Superinten- 
dents McDermott; Grennan, Nolan, Sloane, Williamson 
and others ; and on their reports and administrative 
capacity the Commissioner and his Deputy necessarily 
placed much reliance. There were others, however, who 
acquired no literary polish throughout their career and 
whose educational attainments were no higher than 
when they first joined the force as supernumerary sub- 
inspectors. On the other hand, these men were always 
a solid asset in times of popular disturbance or at seasons 
of public festivity requiring the preservation of order 
among large crowds. From the Superintendent down 
to the latest joined Sub-Inspector, the European police 
contributed the leaven, which stiffened the force at the 
periodical Muharram outbreaks and ensured the orderly 
progress of events on the occasions of Royal and Vice- 
regal visits. 

The annual pilgrimage to Mecca again assumed 
large proportions during these years. In 1902 the 
restrictions, imposed originally as a precautionary plague- 



vm Mr. h. g. cell, M.V.0. 1902-1909 135 

measure, were abolished, and the period opened with 
the arrival in Bombay of about 1,000 pilgrims and with 
the return of 3,3/6 Hajis, who had to be repatriated to 
various districts of British India. In the following year 
the number of outgoing pilgrims was 8,700, and in 1904, 
16,593, the large increase in the latter year being 
ascribable to the occurrence of the Akhari Haj, which 
falls once in ten years. But the traffic continued to 
expand. In 1905, 19,000 pilgrims embarked at Bombay 
for Jeddah and nearly 14,000 returned ; in 1906, 24,300 
embarked and 16,000 returned; and in 1907 more than 
20,000 from all parts of India, from Bokhara, Turkestan 
and other parts of Central Asia, from Ceylon and Java, 
had to be shepherded on board by the Pilgrim Depart- 
ment of the Commissioner's office. The majority of these 
people were wholly uneducated; the existing musafirkhanas 
(rest-houses) provided for them in the City were quite 
inadequate for their proper accommodation ; while the 
vessels provided for the passage to Jeddah by two or 
three merchants or companies were ill-found and equipped, 
andwere becoming unseaworthy by reason of age. 

At the same time the treatment of the pilgrims 
at various stages of their self-imposed journey, the 
behaviour of the pilgrim-brokers, who arranged for the 
purchase of tickets and were responsible generally for 
assisting pilgrims under the supervision of the Pilgrim 
Department, the arrangements for their embarkation and 
the disinfection of their clothing and effects, carried out 
by the Port Health authorities, and various other matters 
connected with the annual exodus, occupied the in- 
creasing attention of the Muhammadan community and 
occasionally formed the subject of rather acid criticism. 
It was asserted that the whole subject of the pilgrimage 
required more attention than an overworked Police Com- 
missioner could give it, and that more facilities should 
be accorded to respectable Moslem residents for express- 
ing their views on the details of the traffic and for 



136 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

keeping in touch with the local arrangements for 
booking and embarkation. Accordingly, the Bombay- 
Government, with a view to disarming criticism and in 
the hope of giving some relief to the Commissioner, 
appointed in 1908 a Haj Committee, composed of leading 
Muhammadan residents of Bombay, with the Com- 
missioner of Police as ex-officio President. During the 
first year of its existence, this Committee did not do very 
much ; but later it developed into a useful consultative 
body, and gave much assistance to Mr. Geirs successor 
in matters connected with the comfort of the pilgrims and 
the local arrangements for housing and disembarkation. 
On several occasions the members of the Committee 
subscribed money from their own pockets to relieve 
cases of distress and secure the repatriation of penniless 
Moslems stranded in Jeddah. 

This period witnessed the preparation of schemes 
for the housing of the police and the construction of 
police-stations. In 1902 the City Improvement Trust 
forwarded to Government for approval plans for stations 
and residential quarters at Wodehouse road in the 
Fort and at 1st. Nagpada : and these buildings, to- 
gether with quarters for the Risaldar of the Mounted 
Police and stables for the sowars, were completed and 
occupied in 1906. Meanwhile the Commissioner was 
pressing for the provision of more accommodation for 
the constabulary, and he found a powerful ally in the 
Police Surgeon, Dr. Arthur Powell, who reported in 
1905 that the prevalence of pneumonia and consumption 
in the force was primarily due to the residence of the 
men in dark, crowded and insanitary chals, A little relief 
was afforded in 1908 by the completion of a block of 
lines for constables and quarters for native officers in 
Duncan road, and a set of quarters for European officers, 
with lines for the men, was also completed at Sussex 
road in the same year. Much expenditure, however, 
had still to be incurred before the force could be said 
to be suitably housed. 



vin Mr. h. g. gell, m.v.o. 1902-1909 137 

Two other important buildings of a different charac- 
ter were provided during Mr. Gell's regime — the Northcote 
Police Hospital and the office of the Protector of 
Pilgrims. Up to l866 constables requiring medical 
treatment were admitted to the Sir J. J. Hospital on 
Parel road. In that year the stable of the old Hamilton 
Hotel was assigned as a separate hospital for the police, 
and was so used till 1870, when the Municipality placed 
an old workshop in Mazagon at the disposal of the 
Police Commissioner. This ramshackle building, which 
accommodated only 35 indoor patients, was totally 
unsuited for a hospital and was a source of constant 
and justifiable complaint. Nevertheless the police were 
forced to put up with it, until Lord Northcote, the Governor, 
(1900-03) sanctioned the construction of a proper building, 
accommodating 94 patients, on one of the new roads 
at Nagpada constructed by the City Improvement Trust. 
The building was formally opened by Lord Lamington 
in August, 1904. 

The growth of the annual Haj traffic, mentioned in 
a previous paragraph, rendered accommodation for the 
office of the Protector of Pilgrims an urgent necessity. 
A ground-floor building, consisting of a large covered 
porch and two or three rooms, was therefore built in 1907 
in the compound of the Head Police Office and served 
as the headquarters of the Pilgrim department, until 
the reorganization of the Criminal Investigation De- 
partment by Mr. Edwardes and his Deputy, Mr. F. A. 
M. H. Vincent, rendered necessary a re-arrangement 
of the accommodation at headquarters. 

Before we describe the disturbances which occurred 
during Mr. Cell's tenure of office, a word may be said 
of the courage and resource occasionally shown by Indian 
constables in the course of their daily duty. In 1903 
a havildar was awarded the medal of the Royal 
Humane Society for rescuing two boys from drowning ; 
a constable received the medal for similar action in 
the following year; while in 1906 the Society rewarded 
X8 



138 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

three constables for saving life in difficult and dangerous 
circumstances. On several occasions also the Com- 
missioner rewarded constables for actions marked by 
conspicuous courage or intelligence. These instances 
serve to support the opinion that under proper leadership 
the Maratha of the Konkan and the Muhammadan of 
the Deccan will show plenty of sang-froid in emergencies. 
Considering that the men received little or no training 
before being placed on duty in the streets, that they 
had little or no education, and that they served year 
after year in a climate which is notoriously enervating 
and under conditions productive of ill-health, it is greatly 
to the credit of the police constable that he performed 
his duty with so few serious mistakes and that he 
frequently gave proof of personal courage and tenacity. 
If at times he appeared to cling too closely to the 
pan-supari shops in the vicinity of his post or beat, 
or to lack alertness in directing traffic, it must be 
remembered that he was rarely ofif duty for any length 
of time, that he had singularly little opportunity for 
recreation and amusement, and that long hours of point- 
duty under the Bombay sun would try the strongest 
constitution. 

Twice during Mr. Geirs term of office the peace of 
the City was broken by rioting at the annual celebration 
of the Muharram. The first occasion was March 23rd, 
1904, the fifth day of the festival, when the ancient 
antagonism between the Sunni and Shia sects developed 
into open hostility. The ostensible cause of the dis- 
turbance was the determination of the Sunni processionists 
to play music and beat their tom-toms in front of the 
Bohra mosque in the notorious Doctor Street. Casual 
street-fighting between the Bohras and their antagonists 
occurred daily up to March 27th ( the Katal-Ki-Rat or 
night of slaughter ), and the aspect of affairs was so 
ominous that Mr. Cell decided to cancel the license for 
the tdbut procession from Rangari moholla (i. e. Abdul 
Rehman street and adjoining lanes ), the inhabitants of 



vm Mr. h. g. cell, m.v.o. 1902-1909 139 

which had been directly responsible for several assaults 
upon the Bohras. This order was strongly resented by 
the general Sunni population, which resolved not to 
carry out the tahuts for immersion on the final day of 
the festival. As usual, the abandonment of the tabut 
procession released large bodies of hooligans and bad 
characters, who testified to their annoyance by attacking 
the police and the general public. At the same time the 
Bohras were seized by a general panic, the results of 
which might have been disastrous, and this fact, com- 
bined with the open disorder in the streets, led Mr. Gell 
to summon the military forces to his assistance. The 
Cheshire Regiment, a Battery of the R. A., the Railway 
Volunteers, the Bombay Light Horse and H. E. the 
Governor's Bodyguard were despatched to various 
points of the disturbed area and picketed the streets 
until April 1st, when peace was finally restored. The 
casualties were fortunately few, and serious loss of life 
was prevented by the speedy arrival of the troops. 

Another serious disturbance marred this festival 
during the last year of Mr. Geirs Commissionership. 
On the morning of February 13th, 1908, a fracas occurred 
between a Shia tabut-procession, composed of Julhais, 
Mughals, Khojas and a few Bohras, and a body of Sunni 
Muhammadans congregated at a mosque in Falkland 
road. The police arrested some of the Sunnis who 
appeared to be the ringleaders in the affray. The news 
of the encounter spread rapidly to other quarters ; and 
the arrest of their co-sectaries so annoyed the Sunni 
Muhammadans that they declined to take out their 
tahuts in procession. This resulted, as usual, in letting 
loose on the streets hundreds of low-class and combative 
Muhammadans, who usually accompanied the processions, 
and they straightway proceeded to sow the seeds 
of disorder in various parts of the bazar. In the hope 
of averting a catastrophe Mr. Gell gave orders early 
in the afternoon for the release of the men arrested 
after the fracas in the morning. But the temper of 



140 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

the mob had by that time been aroused, the cry of 
Huriya, Huriya, was raised, and the ominous stampedes 
and rushes which usually preceded an outbreak of 
disorder occurred in the streets and lanes bordering on 
the Grant and Parel roads. The mob confined itself 
to these tactics and to spasmodic attacks on the Bohras 
and other Shias until the late hours of the after- 
noon, when serious rioting broke out on Parel road. Here 
the Pathan element joined forces with the mob; shops 
were looted and set on fire ; all traffic was stopped and 
the tram-cars were stoned. General panic supervened. 
As the mob was truculent and refused to dispersei 
Mr, Gell ordered the European police, who were facing 
the mob in Parel road (Bhendy Bazar), to use their 
revolvers. The firing put a stop to the actual rioting, 
but in view of the general demeanour of the crowds, 
troops were called out in the evening in aid of the 
civil power and remained on duty in the disturbed 
quarter until the next day. 

These Muharram disturbances, though imposing a 
severe strain upon the Commissioner and the police force, 
caused less concern to the general public than the pro- 
longed rioting in the industrial quarter in July, 1908, when 
more than 400,000 mill-hands broke into open disorder 
after the conviction of the late Bal Gangadhar Tilak 
for sedition by the High Court. Tilak had been arrested 
in Bombay on June 24th on charges arising out of the 
publication in his paper, the Kesariy of articles containing 
inflammatory comments on the Muzaffarpur outrage, in 
which Mrs. and Miss Kennedy had been killed by a 
bomb— the first of a long list of similar outrages in 
Bengal. The bomb was extolled in these articles as 
*a kind of witch-craft, a charm, an amulet', and the 
Kesari delighted in showing that neither * the supervision 
of the police ' nor * swarms of detectives ' could stop 
'these simple playful sports of science.' Whilst 
professing to deprecate such methods, it threw the 
responsibility upon Government, which allowed 'keen 



Vm Mr. M. G. cell, M.V.O. 1902-1909 141 

disappointment to overtake thousands of intelligent 
persons who have been awakened to the necessity of 
securing the rights of Swaraj '. " Tilak spoke for four 
whole days in his own defence — 2lJ hours altogether — 
but the jury returned a verdict of ** Guilty ", and he was 
sentenced to six years' transportation, afterwards 
commuted on account of his age and health to simple 
imprisonment at Mandalay." -^ 

From the moment of his arrest, Tilak's agents and 
followers descended upon the mill-area of Bombay and 
sedulously spread the story that Tilak had been arrested 
because he was the friend of the industrial workers and 
had tried to obtain better wages for them. Some of 
them were reported to have declared during the trial 
that there would be a day's bloodshed for every year to 
which he might be sentenced by the Court. Most of the 
' jobbers ' who control the supply of labour were easily 
won over, and Tilak's Brahman emissaries from Poona 
found many co-adjutors among their own caste-men in 
Bombay, and among the Bhandaris andKonkani Marathas 
living in Parel, Tardeo, Chinchpugli and Dadar sections. 
Curiously enough the Ghatis, or Marathas from the 
Deccan, showed far less interest in the trial of Tilak and 
far less disposition to violence than their caste-fellows 
from Ratnagiri and other districts of the western sea- 
board. The Deccan mill-hands at Sewri, for example, 
at the very height of the rioting, informed an Englishman 
with whom they were familiar that he need fear no harm 
from them, and they confirmed their words by taking no 
share in the disturbance which lasted for six days. The 
hostile attitude of the Konkani Marathas was due to the 
continuous efforts of agitators, and this'was particularly 
the case in the neighbourhood of Currey and De Lisle 
roads, where special agents from their own districts had 
been introduced by Tiiak's revolutionaries. 

The probability of a disturbance was foreseen by 
the authorities, and Mr. Gell took various precautions to 
I. V. Chirol, Indian UnresU PP» 53, 56* 



142 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

circumscribe the area of the outbreak. British regiments, 
Indian infantry and cavalry were held in readiness ; a 
barricade was erected on Mayo road leading to the High 
Court ; several officials and non-officials were appointed 
Special Magistrates and were posted at important points 
to watch the progress of events, assist the police, and 
take all feasible measures for securing the peace of the 
City. The Special Magistrates were a curiously mixed 
body. Among them were Mr. James Macdonald, a 
sexagenarian Scotsman, who had served the City for 
years as a member of the Municipal Corporation; 
Colonel Cordue, R. E., the Master of the Mint ; Mr. Philip 
Messent, Engineer of the Port Trust ; Mr. Arthur Leslie 
of Messrs. Greaves, Cotton and Co., who filled his pockets 
with lemon-grass oil for the benefit of the men of the 
Royal Scots, who were posted at the old police chauki in 
Jacob's Circle and had their bare knees badly bitten by 
the mosquitoes and other forms of low life which shared 
the chauki with the police-constables; the author of this 
work, who was at the time enjoying a spell of com- 
parative ease in the literary backwaters of the Bombay 
City Gazetteer ; and last but not least, the Hon. Arthur 
Hill-Trevor, a commercial free-lance and honorary 
magistrate, who regarded himself as a sort of Honorary 
and Supernumerary Deputy Commissioner of Police, and 
in that capacity executed various blood-curdling ma- 
noeuvres which caused no little apprehension to his more 
pacific colleagues. 

It so happened that some of the precautions proved 
superfluous. There was no attempt on the part of the 
rioters to rush the High Court or even to attend the 
trial of Tilak : there was no organized attempt to march 
on the European residential quarter or to attack the 
European population en masse. Although the rioting 
assumed at times a very threatening character, it was 
confined wholly to the mill-area, except on one afternoon, 
when the Bania merchants, employed in the cloth-market 
of the C division, turned out in force and had to be 



Vm MR. H. G. CELL, M.V.O. 1902-1909 143 

dispersed by firing. A consideration of all the 
circumstances of the Tilak riots leads one to infer 
that the Commissioner was not as well served by his 
detective agency as he might have been, and that the 
disturbances might have been more disastrous and have 
lasted longer, if Tilak*s emissaries and agents had had 
more time at their disposal in which to foster the spirit 
of violence. By the end of the first day*s rioting it was 
clear that outlying areas like the Fort and Malabar 
Hill were exposed to no danger, and consequently most 
of the Special Magistrates gravitated from their original 
posts to Jacob's Circle, which divided the industrial 
quarters from the central portion of the City and served 
as a gathering-ground for the forces of law and order. 

Within the mill-district the rioting was fairly 
continuous and occasionally serious, and isolated 
Europeans whose duties obliged them to reside in the 
area north of Jacob's Circle found it wise to vacate 
their houses for the time being and seek shelter in 
Mazagon, the Fort and other parts. Much damage was 
done to mill-property, and in several encounters with 
the mob the European police were forced to use their 
revolvers and the troops had to fire in self-defence. The 
Indian cavalry were stoned from the chals on more 
than one occasion, and small parties of unarmed police 
fared badly at the hands of the rioters, who had 
accumulated considerable stores of brick-bats and road- 
metal at convenient vantage-points. 

The Bombay Government, realizing that the trouble 
was not a sudden and spontaneous outburst of popular 
feeling and that the rebellious mill-hands were the 
victims of an unscrupulous agitation, based on malevolent 
falsehood, had issued strict orders for the avoidance of 
bloodshed as far as possible : and both the military 
forces and the police exercised such steady self-restraint 
that the casualties were relatively few. Nevertheless 
the continuance of rioting and the dislocation of business 
in the City set many people wondering whether other 



144 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

methods of restoring peace might not be tried. About the 
fifth day of the disturbance the Chamber of Commerce 
sent a deputation to the Governor, to point out the loss 
sustained by the commercial and trade-interests of the 
City and to urge upon Government a stronger effort to 
dissuade the mill-population from violence. The author 
of this history, who had witnessed the whole sequence 
of events at Jacob's Circle and had on one occasion 
accompanied a detachment of the Northampton Regiment 
to Dadar to protect certain isolated Europeans, had 
already asked permission of Mr. ( afterwards Sir John ) 
Jenkins, Member of Council, to visit the heart of the 
disturbed area in company with certain Indian gentlemen 
who had offered their assistance, and endeavour to 
produce a milder feeling among the mill-hands. The 
permission was granted. Accordingly the writer, ac- 
companied by the late Rao Bahadur Narayan T. Vaidya, 
Dr. Dinanath Naik Dandekar and four or five others, 
visited a large number of mill-hands' chals and dwellings 
in Parel and Dadar, spoke to several groups of mill- 
hands, and urged them to resume their regular duties. 
In places the party was met with sullen hostility and with 
shouts of Tilak Maharaj ki Jaiy but the eloquence of the 
Indian members of the party was not without effect, and 
when Rao Bahadur N.T. Vaidya urged them to substitute 
Satya Narayan ki Jai for their Tilakite war-cry, some of 
them seemed disposed to accept the suggestion. 

Though some were inclined to look askance at 
their intervention, the efforts of this little peace-party 
did engender a better feeling, and this, coupled with a 
natural weariness of prolonged hostilities and the loss of 
their wages, resulted in the gradual return of tranquillity 
after the sixth day. By the end of the first week of 
August, affairs had resumed their normal course, the 
mill-hands were again at work, and the Bombay Govern- 
ment were at liberty to consider the salient features and 
lessons of the outbreak. Sir George Clarke, the Governor, 
was blamed in some quarters for having paid a sym- 



Vm Mr. H. G. cell, M.V.O. 1902-1909 145 

pathetic visit, after the close of the riots, to wounded 
mill-hands in the Sir J. J. Hospital. But his policy in 
this matter was dictated by an earnest desire to smooth 
away the bitterness which measures of repression are 
calculated to provoke, and by a conviction that there had 
been an absence of contact between the local authorities 
and the industrial population, which had been per- 
mitted to fall completely under the lawless influence of 
Tilak and his immediate followers. The fact that the 
disturbances lasted for a whole week invited a doubt 
whether the police arrangements were as effective as 
they might have been, and whether indeed a more 
efficient intelligence organization might not have fa- 
cilitated a speedier conclusion of the unsatisfactory duties 
which the military were called upon to perform. An 
impression prevailed that, although the mill-hands who 
defied the police and troops had been severely punished, 
the real authors and fomenters of the disturbances had 
managed to escape scot-free, and that they could not 
have enjoyed such immunity, if the police had had their 
fingers more closely upon the pulse of the City. 

So far as concerns the prosecution and conviction 
of Tilak, Sir George Clarke won "the respect of the vast 
majority of the community, and although he failed to 
secure the active support which he might have expected 
from the * moderates', there were few of them who did 
not secretly approve and even welcome his action. 
Its effects were great and enduring, for Tilak's conviction 
was a heavy blow to the forces of unrest, at least in 
the Deccan; and some months later, one of the organs 
of his party, the Rashtramat, reviewing the occurrences 
of the year, was fain to ^dmit that * the sudden removal 
of Mr. Tilak's towering personality threw the whole 
province into dismay and unnerved the other leaders".^ 

Having thus secured the discomfiture of the revolu- 
tionary party in Western India, the Governor applied 
himself to the problem of the Bombay City Police 
administration, which appeared to him to need revision, 

I. V. Chirol, Indian Unrest, p. 57. 
19 



146 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

not only in response to the general findings of the 
Police Commission, but also by reason of its apparent 
failure to keep closely in touch with political intrigue, 
such as that which precipitated the riots of July 1908. 
Apart from the mere question of numbers and pay, the 
force appeared to the Governor to be working on some- 
what obsolete lines and to need keying up to the pitch 
at which it might cope more successfully both with 
its regular duties of watch and ward and with the 
large amount of confidential investigation necessitated 
by the rapid and alarming growth of political unrest 
and sedition. These were the main reasons underlying 
the appointment of the Morison Committee, which has 
been described in an earlier paragraph. One of the most 
important sections of that committee's report was concern- 
ed with the reorganization of the old detective branch 
of the police-force, hereafter to be called the Criminal 
Investigation Department (C. I. D.), upon which devolved 
the task of watching the trend of political movements 
and of accumulating knowledge of the antecedents and 
actions of the chief fomenters of unrest. 

The work of a police-officer in an Indian city has 
always been extremely arduous, and few men in these 
days are able to bear the strain for many years without 
some loss of vitality and health. There is little doubt 
that the extra work and anxiety entailed by the Royal 
Visit of 1905, which was followed a few days later by 
the arrival of Lord Minto and the departure of Lord 
Curzon, had much to do with the temporary breakdown 
of health which obliged Mr. Cell to take furlough in 1906; 
while the strain inevitably imposed upon him by the 
Muharram and Tilak riots of 1908 was partly the cause 
of his again taking leave to England in the early part of 
1909. In doing so, his long service in the City came to 
an end; for by the time his leave had expired, his suc- 
cessor was in the midst of a comprehensive reorganization 
scheme, which would have suffered in the event of his 
reversion to his own grade in the Indian Civil Service. 



Vm MR. H. G. CELL, M.V.O. 1902-1909 147 

In order, therefore, to enable him to complete his full 
period of pensionable service, Mr. Gell, on his return 
from England, was appointed Deputy Inspector- General 
of Police for the Presidency and a little later for Sind. 
It was in Sind that he completed his official career, and 
from Karachi that he sailed finally for England. His 
long connexion with the City of Bombay is commemo- 
rated, though not perhaps adequately, in the name of 
one of the newer streets opened by the City Improvement 
Trust in the neighbourhood of Ripon road. Memories 
of his equability of temper and his impartiality are still 
cherished by the older officers and men of the police- 
force, who pay a willing tribute to his character as an 
officer and a gentleman. 



CHAPTER IX 

Mr. S. M. Edwardes, C.S.L, C.V.O. 
1909— 1916 

Mr. S. M. Edwardes, who succeeded Mr. Gell as 
head of the Bombay City Police Force, was the first 
member of the Indian Civil Service to hold that appoint- 
ment. He had previously held various appointments 
in Bombay ranging from Assistant to the Collector 
and Chief Inspector of Factories to acting Municipal 
Commissioner, and had acquired considerable knowledge 
of the population and past history of Bombay by his 
work as Census Officer in 1901 and later as Compiler 
of the Gazetteer. Shortly after the Tilak riots in 1908, 
he was nominated a member of the Morison Committee 
which, as previously stated, was appointed by the Bombay 
Government to consider the working of the urban police 
administration and make proposals for its future 
organization. 

This Committee, which met in the Secretariat, 
directed particular attention to the provision of properly 
equipped police stations, to the reconstitution and 
enlargement of the detective branch, hereafter to be 
known as the C. I. D., to the creation of a trained 
Indian staff for the investigation of crime in the Divisions, 
and to the numbers and personnel of the European 
and Indian branches of the force. The Committee 
came to the conclusion from the facts and evidence 
before them that in dealing with political crime and 
seditious movements, planned, promoted and carried 
out by an Indian intelligentsia, the police were handi- 
capped by the absence of educated Indians in the 
subordinate ranks of the force, and that the investigation 
of ordinary crime by the divisional police suffered from 
being in the hands of an old-fashioned agency, which 




Mr. S. M. EDWARDES 



Mr. s. m. edwardes, c.s.i.,c.v.o. 1909-1916 149 

conducted its inquiries in a multiplicity of small and 
sometimes obscure chaukis and kept no proper record 
of its cases. Concentration of the staff in a definite 
number of properly-equipped stations in each division, 
and the inclusion in the force of a new cadre of Indian 
officers for the divisional investigation of crime were 
two obvious desiderata, upon which the Committee 
laid particular stress. They decided also that the time 
had arrived to place the C. I. D. under the immediate 
control of a gazetted officer of the Imperial Police, who 
would occupy the position of a Deputy Commissioner, 
leaving the existing Deputy Commissioner to deal with 
the divisional police and with the large amount of 
miscellaneous work requiring the attention of the head- 
quarters stafiP. Proposals, of a more or less tentative 
character, were also made regarding the numbers, grading 
and duties of the European police, the recruitment of 
Indian constables, and the numbers and work of the 
Harbour, Docks and Mounted Police. 

After drafting the report of the Committee and 
arranging for its submission to Government in October, 
1908, Mr. Edwardes took leave to England. While there, 
he received an intimation from the Bombay Government 
of their intention to appoint him Commissioner of Police 
vice Mr. Gell, who proposed to take leave in 1 909. He 
was at the same time instructed to visit Scotland Yard 
and study at first hand the organization of the Metropoli- 
tan Police. Armed with a letter from the Home Office 
to the Chief Commissioner, Sir Edward Henry, Mr. 
Edwardes accordingly spent some time in the early part 
of 1909 in acquainting himself with the distribution of 
work and the machinery for the prevention and de- 
tection of crime in a typical London police division, with 
the details of the Metropolitan beat-system, with the 
work of the constables' training-school in Westminster, 
with the organization of the Finger Print Bureau, and 
with the staffing, equipment, structural features and 
general management of one of the latest and most up-to- 



ISO THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

date London police-stations. The knowledge thus 
acquired was of the greatest value, when his own proposals 
for the reorganization of the Bombay City Police were 
under, preparation. 

Mr. Edwardes assumed charge of the Commissioner's 
office on May 7th, 1909, with Mr. R. M. Phillips as his 
Deputy Commissioner and Superintendent Sloane as head 
of the Criminal Investigation Department. The former 
was succeeded in July by Mr. Hayter, who made way in 
September for Mr. Gadney. The latter served as Deputy 
Commissioner until November, 1913, when his place was 
taken by Mr. O. Allen Harker, who held the appointment 
until after the expiry of Mr. Edwardes* term of office. 
In pursuance of the recommendations of the Morison 
Committee, an additional appointment of Deputy Com- 
missioner in charge of the C. I. D. was sanctioned by 
G. R. J. D. 3253 of June 8th, 1909 ; and, Superintendent 
Sloane having been promoted to the cadre of the Imperial 
Police and transferred to a district, the new post was 
given to Mr. F. A. M. H. Vincent, son of the former 
Commissioner of Police, who held it until the beginning 
of 1913, when he was appointed Deputy Director of 
Criminal Intelligence at Simla. He was succeeded in 
Bombay by Mr. F. C. Griffith, who remained in charge 
of the C. I. D. during the remainder of Mr. Edwardes' 
term of office. Both Mr. Vincent and Mr. Griffith subse- 
quently succeeded in turn to the Commissioner's appoint- 
ment. In 1914 a third appointment of Deputy Com- 
missioner was sanctioned by G. R. J. D. 9249 of December 
19th, 1914, under the style and title of Deputy Com- 
missioner of Police for the Port of Bombay. Mr. G. S. 
Wilson was chosen for this post and became responsible, 
under the general authority of the Commissioner, for all 
work connected with the Harbour and Dock Police and 
the Pilgrim Traffic. This period thus witnessed the 
permanent appointment of three Deputy Commissioners in 
place of a single officer of that rank, and the consequent 
delegation to them by the Commissioner of much of the 



IX MR. S. M. EDWARDES, C.S.I., C.V.O. T909-1916 151 

work which he had hitherto been expected to perform 
without adequate assistance. 

Mr. Edwardes' appointment was not received 
favourably at first by the members of the Imperial 
Police Service, who naturally felt some resentment 
at such a post being given to one who was not a 
professional police-officer. This feeling led to the 
submission of memorials on the subject to the Bombay 
Government, who were able without difficulty to justify 
their departure from the usual practice. The discontent 
also communicated itself to the rank and file of the City 
police, who during the first few months of Mr. Edwardes* 
regime displayed a spirit of captious criticism, which 
was fanned at last by a few malcontents into overt dis- 
obedience. The movement culminated on January 7th, 
1910, in the refusal of a certain number of Indian consta- 
bles to receive their pay. The Commissioner, who had 
kept himself informed of the course of the movement, 
had arranged with the European officers of the Divisions 
what action should be taken in the event of open insub- 
ordination. The men who declined to accept their pay 
were therefore marched immediately to the Head Police 
Office and, after inquiry into their conduct, were 
dismissed from the force. This action completely 
quashed the movement,: which was based upon no real 
grievance and was designed merely to cause trouble to 
a Commissioner, whose policy and plans they had been 
taught to regard with suspicion. 

The strength and cost of the City Police Force under- 
went much alteration during this period of seven years, 
in consequence of the reorganization scheme prepared 
by the Commissioner. His proposals for the future con- 
stitution and character of the force, which were submitted 
in July, 1910, were sanctioned by the Government of 
India in September, 1911 ; but owing to very heavy work 
connected with the visit of Their Majesties the King 
and Queen in November of that year, the scheme was 
not actually introduced until the beginning of 1912. 



152 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

As early as 1909, however, certain changes were made 
in consonance with the proposals of the Morison 
Committee, and to meet emergent requirements, 
which resulted in an increase of the total number to 
2,408. This total included additions to the Dockyard 
police, temporary sanitary police for service under the 
Port Health Officer, temporary constables for traffic-duty 
at various railway level crossings, and finally the revised 
strength of the C. I. D., which was fixed by G. R. J. D. 
2708 of May lOth, 1909, at I Superintendent, 6 Inspectors, 
7 Sub-Inspectors, 23 Head Constables and 41 Constables. 
In 1910 an additional Inspector was sanctioned for the 
Motor Vehicles department ; and 9 Indian sub-inspectors, 
3 head constables and 9 constables were added to the force, 
to enable the Commissioner to introduce tentatively in 
three areas the new divisional organization which formed 
the salient feature of his administrative proposals. 
Thus by 1911 the force numbered 2,505, which was equi- 
valent to a proportion of one policeman to every 394 of 
population, and cost annually, inclusive of temporary 
police and contingent charges, Rs. 10,93,351. In 1913, when 
the reorganization was well in hand, the total strength 
of the force stood at 2,844 and cost Rs. 12,73,834; while 
at the end of 1915, a few months before Mr. Edwardes 
relinquished office, the total number, inclusive of a 
small temporary staff for watching trans-frontier Pathans 
in the City, was 3,01 1, and the annual cost amounted 
to Rs. 13,37,208. The proportion of police to population 
at this date was I to 327, which compared unfavourably 
with the proportions in Calcutta and London. Had 
the Commissioner's first proposals been sanctioned with- 
out alteration, the proportion of police to population 
in Bombay would have been far more favourable ; for 
he had worked out a complete beat-system on the 
London model for the whole of the City. The number 
of men, however, required for this purpose was naturally 
large, and as the Bombay Government were compelled 
by the Government of India to restrict the additional 



IX Mr. s. m. edwardes, C.S.I., c.v.o. 1909-1916 153 



annual cost of the force to 2^^ lakhs of rupees, the Com- 
missioner was obliged to jettison the beat-system and 
utilize the available funds* in other directions, such as 
perfecting the divisional machinery for the investigation 
of crime, increasing the number of fixed traffic posts, 
and augmenting the inadequate pay of the European 
police. 

This force of just over 3,000 men was distributed 
among the following divisions at the close of 1916 : — 



Division 



Sub-divisions or Sections 



A Colaba, Fort South, Fort North, Esplanade 

B Mandvi, Chakla, Umarkhadi, Dongri 

C Market and Dhobi Talao, Bhuleshwar and 

Khara Talao 

D Khetwadi, Girgaum, Chaupati, Walkeshwar 

E Mazagaon, Tarwadi, Kamathipura, New 

Nagpada, Mahalakshmi, Jacob's Circle 

F Parel, Dadar, Matunga, Sion 

G Mahim, Worli 

H and I Harbour and Docks 

L Head Quarters Armed and Unarmed Police 

M Mounted Police 

N I The Government Dockyard 

and The Criminal Investigation Department (formerly 
the K division ), 

With the appointment of Mr. F. A. M. H. Vincent 
as Deputy Commissioner, C. I. D., and the increase in its 
personnel, the Criminal Investigation Department entered 
upon a period of remarkable activity. The staff was 
divided into four branches—Political, Foreign, Crime, and 
Miscellaneous— each in control of one or more Inspectors ; 
work-books were introduced, which fixed responsibility 
upon individual officers for cases entrusted to them for 
inquiry and served as a check upon delay in the sub- 
mission of final reports of investigations ; a confidential 
20 



154 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

strong-room was provided, and the card index system and 
upright filing of records were substituted for the old 
methods in vogue at this date in most official depart- 
ments. In addition to the investigation of cases, some 
of the more remarkable of which will be mentioned here- 
after, the department made confidential inquiries, often 
of a delicate character, into political, religious and 
social movements ; it scrutinized plays for performance 
licenses, amending or rejecting those that were objection- 
able; it took vigorous action under the Press Act, con- 
fiscating on occasions as many as twenty-one thousand 
copies of proscribed books ; it maintained a constant 
watch upon the arrivals and departures of steamers, 
assisted the Excise authorities, collaborated with the 
police of other districts and provinces, supervised and, 
if necessary, prohibited the songs sung by the melas at 
the .annual Ganpati celebration, and performed an 
immense amount of confidential work in connexion with 
the Muharram. It also assisted or secured the repatri- 
ation of all manner of destitute persons stranded in 
Bombay, including English theatrical artistes, Arabs 
belonging to French territories, ladies from Mauritius, 
Bengali seamen, Pathan labourers expelled fromCeylon, 
and deportees from the Transvaal. 

The establishment at the beginning of 1911 of a 
" Police Gazette ", appearing thrice in the twenty-four 
hours and containing full details of all reported crimes, 
persons wanted, property stolen or lost, etc., was a 
further step in the direction of increased efficiency. 
Prior to this date, when a case of theft occurred, the 
first duty of the Inspector, in whose jurisdiction it 
took place, was to prepare with his own hand thirty 
or forty notices for dispatch to other police-stations 
in the City. Much valuable time was thus wasted; 
and when the notices were ready, several constables 
had to be released from their proper duties to act as 
messengers. Under the system introduced in 1911 the 
duty of the sectional officer consisted simply in 



DC MR. S. M.EDWARDES, C.S.I.,C.V.0. 1909-1916 155 

telephoning full details to the Deputy Commissioner 
C. I. D., who arranged for their insertion in the next 
issue of the " Gazette", copies of which were delivered 
at every police station within a few hours of the 
occurrence. The arrangements were adapted from the 
system followed in London and effected a great saving 
of time and trouble in the divisions. In 1915 the Police 
Notice Ofl&ce, composed of a European Inspector and an 
Indian head constable, circulated in this way nearly 
10,000 paragraphs and 67 supplements dealing with 
murders, thefts, deserters and persons wanted, and also 
published and circulated to the divisions forty pages 
of special orders concerned with daily routine. 

Another salient feature of the reorganization, as 
mentioned above, was the creation of a special agency 
for the divisional investigation of crime. This was 
dependent upon the provision of properly-equipped 
police stations of a definite type, recommended by Mr. 
Edwardes, comprising the necessary offices, charge-room, 
cells, quarters for the European and Indian staff, 
and barracks for the constabulary. The scheme, as 
sanctioned, contemplated the provision of 1/ stations of this 
character. At the date when Mr. Edwardes was appointed 
Commissioner, none of the existing police-stations fulfilled 
these requirements, and in some divisions paucity of 
accommodation directly hampered the daily work of the 
police. In 1911, for example, the station of the Khetwadi 
section of the D division was described as practically non- 
existent. The lease of a building having expired, and no 
alternative accommodation being available, the Inspector 
was holding his office in the dressing-room of an Indian 
theatre in Grant road, the station-stores and constables' 
kit-boxes were temporarily placed in a tea-shop in 
Falkland road, and the two European officers of the 
section were forced to reside in very poor quarters in an 
adjoining section. Most of the older stations were very 
inconvenient and insanitary. The only office consisted 
of one of the sectional Inspector's dwelling-rooms or of 



156 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

a portion of a verandah screened off ; prisoners and 
witnesses were herded together on the stairs or in the 
street ; the residence was surrounded by old-fashioned 
and odoriferous latrines ; and every odd corner was 
choked with kit-boxes and with the recumbent forms of 
constables taking a rest before going on duty. 

By the end of 1910, however, a complete programme 
for new stations had been prepared, and sanctioned by 
Government, and a commencement had been made in 
Colaba, Nagpada and Agripada, where the newer police- 
stations erected by the Improvement Trust were subjected 
to structural alterations and additions, in order to make 
them conform with the plan adapted from the London 
model. Each of these stations was equipped with a staff 
composed of one Inspector, one Deputy Inspector, three 
Indian Sub-Inspectors for criminal investigation, plain- 
clothes constables and a clerical staff; the first inform- 
ation sheet, case-diary and other records used by 
the District Police were so adapted to urban requirements 
as to secure a complete record of every case taken up by 
the police ; and the time-table of duties was arranged so 
that at any moment during the twenty-four hours an 
English-knowing officer, with power to record complaints 
and commence inquiries, would be found in the general 
charge-room of the station. At the outset most of the 
Indian Sub-Inspectors were chosen from among the 
few English-knowing Jemadars and Havildars, already 
in the force ; but from 1 910 onwards a regular supply of 
such officers was secured by choosing young Indians 
of good middle-class standing and deputing them to 
the Provincial Police Training School at Nasik for an 
eighteen months' course of tuition in law and police- 
work. 

At the beginning of 1913 the Commissioner opened 
two more stations on the new model at Princess Street — a 
building erected by the Improvement Trust in 1910, and 
at Maharbaudi: and two more in 1914 in the new build- 
ings of the Harbour and Dock police at Mody Bay and 



IX MR. S. M. EDWARDES, C.S.I., C.V.O. I909-I9I6 I57 

Frere road respectively, which were completed and 
occupied in January. At the beginning of January, 
1916, three more stations were established under the 
reorganization scheme at Khetwadi, Hughes road, and 
the Esplanade, while at the close of the same year 
similar stations were organized in the new buildings 
erected at Gamdevi, Lamington road and Palton road. 
Thus, by the end of 1916 thirteen out of the seventeen 
model police-stations, originally proposed by the Com- 
missioner, had been opened with a full complement of 
officers and men, while plans had been approved for 
similar accommodation in Mahim, Parel and other places 
in the northern portion of the Island of Bombay. Where 
it was found impossible to build full residential 
accommodation for both officers and men on the site 
allotted for these new stations, ancillary accommodation 
schemes were prepared, which, when completed, would 
ensure the proper housing of the majority of the force as 
it existed at the date of Mr. Edwardes' departure. 

A sustained effort was made during these years to 
teach English to the Indian constabulary, with the 
obizci of giving the men themselves a better chance of 
promotion and enabling them to hold their own more 
confidently with the large English-speaking population. 
In 1910 the number of officers, exclusive of Europeans, 
able to read and write was 127, of whom only 36 were 
literate in English, while literate constables, of whom 
only one or two knew English, numbered 584. In July 
191 1 the Commissioner commenced sending a chosen 
number of Muhammadan and Hindu constables to two free 
night-schools for instruction in English and one vernacu- 
lar language. The success attending this experiment 
led the Bombay Government to sanction a proposal to 
open an English school for constables at the Head Police 
Office, under a qualified teacher from one of the official 
training-schools maintained by the Educational Depart- 
ment. This school was attended by 150 constables from 
the various branches of the force, who were given a three 



158 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

years' course of tuition in English, and on Saturdays 
attended lectures on their duty to the public, their powers 
under the Police Act, and matters of simple hygiene. 
In 1913 the number of men attending the school had 
risen to 200, and the master had been forced to obtain 
gratuitous assistance in teaching the various classes. 
The question of accommodation also became urgent, 
and during 1915 and 1916 the classes had to be assembled 
in the Elphinstone Middle School, which the educational 
authorities allowed the police to use during the early 
morning and evening hours. The men, who were 
encouraged to study by the grant of small rewards and 
occasionally of promotion, if they were successful in 
the periodical examinations, derived distinct advantage 
from the school-course, and the number of constables 
literate in the English language showed a steady increase 
between 191 1 and 1916. In the latter year 846 constables 
were reported to be able to read and write, and 72 of 
them were literate in English. Connected with the subject 
of education was the foundation of a fund in the name of 
the Commissioner — the S. M. E. Memorial Fund — sub- 
scribed by Hindu and Muhammadan residents, with the 
object of assisting Indian constables of the force to educate 
their sons. The proposal was made in the first instance 
by Mr. Kazi Kabiruddin, a barrister and Justice of the 
Peace, and at his instance sufficient funds were subse- 
quently provided to admit of the grant of monthly 
scholarships and stipends to the sons of constables 
attending primary schools maintained by the Municipal 
Corporation. 

A large amount of routine work devolved upon the 
police under the Arms, Explosives, Petroleum and 
Poisons Acts. Under the Arms Act licenses of various 
kinds were granted or cancelled, the shops and store- 
rooms of licensed dealers were regularly inspected and 
their stocks checked, and constant inquiries, numbering 
several thousand annually, were made to verify 
purchases from local dealers and trace the whereabouts 



DC MR. S. M. EDWARDES, C.S.I., C.V.O. 1909-1916 159 

of fire-arms. In 191 1, just before the arrival of Their 
Majesties the King and Queen, five revolvers were stolen 
from a licensed dealer's shop. The C. I. D. were success- 
ful in recovering the arms and in obtaining the con- 
viction of the thieves : but in consideration of the 
approach of the Royal Visit, the Commissioner decided 
to take charge of the entire stock of arms and ammuni- 
tion held by five Indian dealers, and kept it in deposit 
in the Head Police Office until after the departure of 
Their Majesties. Under the Explosives Act licenses 
were issued for manufacture, possession and sale ; and 
magazines for the storage of explosives were regularly 
inspected by the special branch maintained for this 
purpose at head-quarters. Similar duties were carried 
out under the Petroleum Act ; while from April 1st, 1909, 
the Police became responsible for licensing the sale 
of poisons and checking stocks, — duties which up to 
that date had been performed by the Municipality. The 
task of licensing theatres and granting performance 
licenses, which was transferred to the Arms department 
at the close of 1909, imposed a heavy additional burden 
on the special staff. Most of the theatres at this date 
were devoid of proper exits and of means of protection 
against fire, and these seven years witnessed a continuous 
struggle to secure the erection of fire-proof staircases 
etc. and the provision of fire-proof drop-curtains. 
Fortunately the Police were able to obtain the help 
of the Chief of the Fire-brigade and of the Government 
engineering and electrical experts, in deciding what 
improvements were essential in each case, and it was 
chiefly due to this collaboration that a better fire-service 
had been installed by 1913 in each of the thirteen 
theatres of the City, and that many important structural 
alterations in both theatres and cinematographs had 
been introduced by the close of 1916. Perhaps the most 
notable achievement of the headquarters staff under 
Chief Inspector M. J. Giles was the preparation of a set of 
theatre rules, applicable to all structures used 



l6o THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

for public performances, which were brought into force 
in August 1914, and gave the police power to insist 
upon the provision of fire-appliances, water-supply, 
exits, and fire-proof materials. As mentioned in a 
previous paragraph, the C. I. D. was made responsible 
for the scrutiny of plays, for which a performance license 
was required, and licenses were granted only to such 
plays as were declared by that department to be 
unobjectionable on political, moral or general grounds. 

The growth in the number of motor-vehicles 
continued unchecked and ultimately necessitated the 
promulgation of new rules under the Motor Vehicles Act 
in 191 5. In 1909, the total number of motor-vehicles 
registered since 1905 was 1,295, while in 1915 this figure 
had increased to 4>947. But a good many of these 
gradually disappeared in the course of ten years, and 
the actual number estimated to be on the roads in 1915 
was 2,482 as compared with only 814 in 1909. Heavy 
motor-vehicles of the lorry type also appeared during 
this period and numbered 70 in 1915. This increase 
of motor-trafl&c synchronized with, and was partly 
responsible for, a steady increase in the number of street 
accidents. While reckless driving was unquestionably 
the cause of many accidents, despite energetic action 
in several directions to prevent it, the large majority 
of the casualties reported from year to year were the 
outcome of that carelessness and lack of alertness on 
the part of the average Indian pedestrian, with which 
all who have driven cars or carriages in Bombay are only 
too well acquainted. Accustomed as they are to the peace 
of a sequestered country life, many of the foot-passengers 
in the streets of the city seem totally unable to exercise 
any caution or to acquire the habit of keeping to the 
side of the road, while in the case of the mill-workers, 
whom one meets in Parel and elsewhere, the sense of 
hearing seems to have been permanently dulled by the 
constant rattle and clatter of the machinery at which they 
labour during the greater part of the day. 



DC MR. S. M. EDWARDES, C.S.I., C.V.O. 1909-1916 16I 

The Haj traffic continued to expand between 1909 
and 191 1, the total number of pilgrims who left Bombay 
for Jeddah in those years being 19,748 and 21,965 
respectively. From 191 2 the numbers commenced to 
decline until the year after the outbreak of the War, 
when the traffic virtually ceased altogether. The period 
witnessed a struggle on the part of a British shipping-firm 
to secure the monoply of the Red Sea trade, including 
the pilgrim traffic, by ousting the few Muhammadan- 
owned vessels which had hitherto catered for the 
pilgrims. The firm in question was unquestionably in a 
position to offer better vessels and a better organization 
for the return journey than the Indian ship-owners : but 
one or two of the latter resented the effort to drive them 
out of the traffic, with the result that the Commissioner 
of Police and the Pilgrim department, who endeavoured 
to act in a strictly neutral manner, ran the risk of blame 
from both parties for showing undue preference to their 
rivals. At the moment of the Declaration of War all the 
vessels engaged in the traffic were owned by the British 
firm, except one or at most two which belonged to a 
well-known Muhammadan resident. It might have been 
supposed that, considering the wholly Islamic character 
of the pilgrimage, a British firm would have acquiesced 
in the continued presence of a Muhammadan-owned 
vessel, and have trusted to time and the ordinary 
economic law for its ultimate disappearance from the 
Jeddah route. Such, however, was not the case ; and at 
the instance of the local manager of the firm, a pushing 
Scot from Aberdeen, the Bombay Government was asked 
practically to insist upon the Commissioner and the 
Pilgrim department refusing all facilities to the Muham- 
madan ship-owner to sell his tickets and dispatch his 
vessel. The outbreak of War in 1914, and the consequent 
cessation of the traffic to and from Jeddah, solved a 
dispute which for some time imposed additional work 
upon the Police and Pilgrim authorities. 

The Finger Print Bureau steadily maintained its 
21 



I62 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

efficiency and had compiled a record of more than 45,000 
slips by the end of 1915. At the request of the municipal 
authorities, it commenced about 1912 to take the finger- 
impressions of hundreds of candidates for employment 
as sweepers in the Health department, and was able to 
prove annually from its records that a certain proportion 
of these people had previous convictions under the Penal 
Code. In another direction — revolver-practice by the 
European police — a considerable improvement was 
effected. Up to 1914 it was customary to arrange for the 
practice in a field at the back of the China Mill at Sewri, 
which was sufficiently remote and secluded to obviate 
danger to the public. But the distance of the site from 
the centre of the City rendered the regular attendance of 
all officers practically impossible, and in consequence, 
on the rare occasions when the European police were 
called upon to use their revolvers at disturbances, their 
shooting was inclined to be a trifle erratic. In the 
Muharram riots of 1908, for example, when Mr. Cell 
ordered the European officers to fire on the mob in 
Bhendy Bazar, a Parsi who was watching the 
rioting from the window of a third upper-storey was 
unfortunately killed by a revolver-shot, directed at the 
crowd in the street. To ensure more regular practice by 
all officers, therefore, the Commissioner obtained the 
approval of Government to the erection of a safety 
revolver range in the compound of the Head Police 
Office, which was opened in September, 1914. 

Before dealing with the record of crime, a brief 
reference is desirable to the extraordinary volume of 
miscellaneous work performed under the orders of the 
Commissioner. Derelict children were constantly being 
picked up in the streets by the divisional police and 
forwarded to the Head Office, when the Commissioner 
had to make the best arrangements he could for their 
maintenance and welfare ; penniless women and children 
were repatriated to various parts of India, to Persia, 
Mauritius, Egypt, South Africa and Singapore, with 



DC MR. S. M. EDWARDES, C.S.I., C.V.O. 1909-1916 163 

funds collected by the Police Office for each individual 
case from charitable townspeople; penurious women 
were assisted to get their daughters married, and on one 
occasion a Muhammadan and his wife, who desired a 
divorce and applied for police assistance, were granted 
facilities for the ceremony at police headquarters. On 
another occasion the Commissioner was asked to assist 
in the rebuilding of a mosque belonging to the Sidis or 
African Musalmans of Tandel Street, and was able to 
obtain the necessary funds from several well-to-do 
Muhammadans in the city. The Police dealt also with a 
large number of lunatics; they traced deserters from the 
Army and Navy; they made inquiries into the condition 
of second-class hotels and drinking-bars in the European 
quarter and took action, when necessary, in consultation 
with the Excise authorities ; they dealt with a very large 
number of prostitutes under the Police Act. The number 
of summonses which they were called upon to serve 
annually on behalf of magisterial courts in Bombay and 
other Provinces was enormous, and their work in 
connexion with the grant of certificates of identity to 
persons proceeding to Europe, with the grant of passes 
for processions and for playing music in the streets, and 
of permits to enter the Ballard Pier on the arrival and 
departure of the English mail-steamer, was heavy and 
continuous. Appeals for unofficial assistance from 
private individuals and from societies like the League of 
Mercy, engaged in rescue-work among women, were also 
never refused. Miscellaneous activities of this varied 
type formed no small portion of the annual task of the 
force and were rendered effective by the close 
collaboration of the staff at headquarters, the C. I. D., 
and the divisional police. 

The difficulty of providing suitable shelter and 
guardianship for the many derelict girls of tender age 
found wandering in the streets by the police led directly 
to the foundation by the Commissioner of the Abdulla 
Haji Daud Bavla Muhammadan Girls' Orphanage. With 



164 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

the possible exception of one or two Christian missionary 
institutions, to which it would have been impolitic on 
political and religious grounds to send children, no 
organization or society existed in 1909, which was 
prepared to take charge of homeless girls. Consequently, 
many little waifs gravitated into the brothels of the city 
or were gradually absorbed in the floating criminal 
population. Moreover, when a child was found in the 
streets, homeless and friendless, the police had no shelter 
to offer her except the cells at the sectional police- 
station ; and these, being regularly filled with the dregs 
of the criminal population, were a most undesirable 
environment for girls of tender years. As caste-preju- 
dices offered peculiar obstacles to any scheme for the 
benefit of Hindu girls belonging to the Shudra class, the 
Commissioner determined to concentrate his attention 
upon a home for Muhammadan girls, and accordingly 
drew up a scheme and issued an appeal, which was 
widely circulated among the Muhammadan community. 
The appeal was favourably received, and about 2 lakhs 
of rupees were collected within a few weeks. To this 
sum were added more than 3 lakhs from the estate of the 
late Abdulla Haji Daud Bavla, whose executors offered 
the amount on condition that the orphanage should bear 
his name, that his trustees should be represented on the 
managing committee of the orphanage, and that the 
objects, constitution and maintenance etc. of the 
orphanage should be embodied in a legal deed of trust. 
At the request of the Commissioner, the Bombay 
Government agreed to become a party to the deed and 
bound themselves to appoint the Commissioner of Police, 
or any other of their officers resident for the time being 
in Bombay, as chairman of the board of trustees of the 
orphanage. The legal preliminaries having been 
completed and the funds duly invested in gilt-edged 
securities, a suitable building was taken on a lease, and 
furnished at the expense of a philanthropic Muham- 
madan merchant, and in December, 1910, the orphanage 



JK Mr. S. M. EDWARDES, C.S.I., C.V.O. 1909-1916 165 

was formally opened by Sir George Clarke (now Lord 
Sydenham) and Lady Clarke. The institution soon 
justified its existence ; the number of girl-inmates steadily 
increased, their physical health and welfare being under 
the general supervision of a trustworthy Englishwoman, 
and their religious exercises and elementary lessons 
being given by a Mullani and her assistants. The 
problem of the girls' future was solved in the only 
feasible way by arranging for their marriage with 
Muhammadans of their own class, as soon as they reached 
the age of maturity. These hymeneal arrangements 
were made by a chosen officer of the C. I. D., Khan Saheb 
M. F. Taki, in consultation with the jamais and leaders of 
the various Musalman sections. Experience has proved 
that the establishment of institutions like this Muham- 
madan Girls* Orphanage is an essential preliminary to 
any serious effort to combat the deplorable traffic in 
children, which still flourishes in India and constitutes 
the chief means of recruitment for the brothels of the 
larger towns and cities. 

This period witnessed a steady increase in crime 
up to 1915, when the stringent measures taken during the 
pendency of the War to clear the City of undesirables 
imposed a notable check upon the normal increase in 
reported crime. Previous to that date the rapid increase 
in recorded crime was the natural result of the 
changes which took place in the force after 1909, and 
particularly of the improvement in registration which 
followed the introduction of the new divisional police- 
stations. Not only did these stations offer increased 
facilities for the reporting and detection of crime, 
but it was also impossible under the new system for 
cases to escape registration and final inclusion in the 
returns. The improvement in the registration of cases 
was manifested also in a marked diminution of the number 
of complaints classed as made under a misapprehension 
of law or fact. By 1916 the sanctioned strength 
of the police force had been augmented by one-third 



l66 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

since 1 906, and this fact by itself would have sufficed to 
account for a large increase in the amount of crime brought 
to light. When coupled with the reorganization of the 
various police-stations, each of which was furnished with 
a strong registering and investigating staff, the increase 
in recorded crime became inevitable. It was likewise 
due to more accurate estimates of the value of property 
stolen that the percentage of recovery declined from 56 
in 1908 to about 40 in succeeding years. 

Murder and attempts at murder were still deplorably 
frequent, including cases of infanticide which are 
extremely difficult to detect in an Oriental city. The 
number of murder cases varied from 16 in 1909 to 3 1 in 
1910, 25 in 1911, 31 in 1912, and 24 in both 1913 and 1915. 
The largest number, 35, occurred in 1914. The most 
notable murder was that of a young and wealthy Bhattia 
widow, residing in her own house on Malabar Hill. Her 
husband, Lakhmidas Khimji, who had died some time 
previously in circumstances which gave rise to ill- 
founded rumour, had been a well-known figure in Indian 
commercial circles. His widow Jamnabai, was brutally 
strangled by a gang of six men from northern India, two 
of whom belonged to well-known criminal tribes in the 
United Provinces and a third was a night-watchman in 
the employ of a Jain resident on Malabar Hill. At first 
there appeared to be no clue whatever to the crime ; but 
a few days after its occurrence the Commissioner received 
an anonymous letter in Hindi, which was translated for 
him by the Subehdar of the Armed Police, who happened 
to be a north-Indian Brahman conversant with that 
language. The letter, which was written by one of the 
criminals in revenge for not receiving what he regarded 
as a fair share of the ornaments stolen from the widow's 
house, gave sufficient details to enable the Police to 
arrest five of the gang the same evening. The sixth 
accused was subsequently arrested at Bassein. All of 
them were placed on trial for murder and convicted. 

By the year 1909, the vice of cocaine-eating had 



IX Mr. S. M. EDWARDES, C.S.I., CV.O. 1909-1916 167 

attained an extraordinary hold upon the lower classes of 
the population. Women and even children had fallen 
victims to a habit which plainly exercised a deplorable 
effect upon their health and morals. The supplies of 
the drug came in the first instance from Germany in 
packets bearing the name of Merk, and were frequently 
smuggled into India in ways that defied detection. 
Moreover the traffic in the drug, which was international 
in character, was so cleverly organized that it was 
practically impossible to trace and prosecute the 
importers and distributors. Action was therefore con- 
fined to prosecuting the smaller fry for the offences of 
illicit sale and possession, and the majority of such cases 
occurred in the notorious Nal Bazar area of the C 
division, which for the last thirty or forty years has 
sheltered a large population of disreputables. The 
Police were not held primarily responsible for the 
control of the cocaine-traffic. This duty devolved upon 
the Collector of Bombay, who maintained a large and 
well-paid excise staff for the purpose.^ But the obli- 
gation which rested on the police to assist the excise 
authorities as far as possible, and the direct stimulus to 
crime provided by the cocaine-habit, rendered the 
question of combating the traffic of more than ordinary 
importance. With this in view, the Commissioner in 
1909 put a special police-cordon on the area devoted to 
the traffic for about six weeks. This produced satis- 
factory results for the time being, but had to be 
abandoned, to allow of the men reverting to their 
regular duties which suffered by their absence. In 
191 1 a second attempt was made to restrict the evil 
by placing a European Inspector and a staff of 
constables on special duty in the C division for a period 
of about two months, during which nearly 600 individuals 

I. Prior to 1913 the Excise authorities were not empowered to 
prosecute offenders in the Courts. The Police had to conduct 
all prosecutions. From the year mentioned the Excise depart- 
ment was given the necessary powers. 



168 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

were caught and convicted by the courts. These in- 
cursions into the area of the retail-traffic were not the 
only successes achieved by the police. In 1911 the Dock 
Police arrested an Austrian steward of the S. S. Africa 
with 300 grains of cocaine concealed in the soles of his 
boots ; in 1912 the Superintendent of the Harbour Police 
secured the arrest of a fireman from a German merchant- 
ship with 40 lbs. of the drug, valued at Rs. 45,500, in his 
possession ; another large consignment, valued at Rs. 
17,000 was traced by Khan Saheb M.H. Taki and Khan 
Saheb F. M. Taki of the C. I. D. to a house in Doctor 
Street in 1913 ; and on two occasions Indian constables on 
duty in the Docks arrested on suspicion persons belonging 
to vessels in the harbour, with large quantities of the drug 
concealed on their person. It cannot be asserted, how- 
ever, that these arrests and prosecutions secured any real 
diminution of the traffic from abroad. They did upset the 
local market for the drug, and interfered temporarily with 
the supply of the tiny paper packets sold in the darker 
corners of the C division. The traffickers were not thereby 
daunted, for when the real article was difficult to procure, 
they palmed off powdered magnesia and Epsom salts 
on their unfortunate victims, who were naturally unable to 
complain of the deception. The first real check to the 
traffic was provided by the drastic restrictions on imports 
and exports imposed after the declaration of War in 
1914, and by the sudden cessation of the continental 
steamship companies' traffic between Europe and the 
East. At a comparatively recent date the question of 
the traffic in cocaine has been discussed at Geneva under 
the auspices of the League of Nations, and the view 
seems to be generally accepted that the evil can only be 
adequately countered by stringent supervision of the 
primary sources of supply and joint action on the part of 
all the States concerned. 

Of the many important criminal cases successfully 
investigated by the Police during these seven years, a 
few deserve special mention. In 1910 and 191 1 some 



IX Mr. S. M. EDWARDES, C.S.L, C.V.0. 1909-1916 169 

very seditious books were brought to the notice of the 
Bombay Government by certain persons to whom they 
had been sent anonymously. In the course of their 
inquiries the Police discovered a large store of these 
books at Navsari in the Baroda State, and also secured 
proof that the books were printed at Mehsana in the same 
territory. A prominent Indian pleader of Kaira, who was 
concerned in their distribution, was prosecuted and 
duly convicted. H. H. the Gaekwar of Baroda was in 
England at the time of the inquiry ; but on his 
return he deported the author of the books, who was one 
of his own subjects, for a period of five years. In 1912 
the police successfully dealt with a swindler named 
Amratlal, who had victimised a firm of jewellers in 
Germany to the extent of nearly 2 lakhs of rupees, and 
they also detected the perpetrator of a series of thefts on 
board the P. and O. Company's ships, including a case 
of tampering with the mails. In the following year the 
premises of the well-known firm of Messrs Ewart, Latham 
and Company were destroyed by fire. Immediately after 
the fire, a stolen cheque filled in for Rs. 10,826 and 
bearing a forged signature, was presented at a bank 
for payment and cashed. One of the firm's employes 
was eventually arrested and charged with the offences of 
theft, cheating and forgery, the police investigation 
establishing also the moral certainty that the accused 
had set fire to the office in the hope of obliterat- 
ing all trace of his crime. The accused was committed 
to the Sessions, where a peculiarly stupid jury, failing 
to appreciate the evidence, brought in a verdict of " not 
guilty." The presiding Judge discharged the accused 
and passed severe comments on the perversity displayed 
by the jury. A case, which contained elements of both 
tragedy and comedy, concerned the marriage of a Koli 
girl, about 9 years old, to a sexagenarian Bania. Three 
Hindus, acting on the principle that love is blind, falsely 
represented that the girl was a Bania, and thereby 
induced the elderly Lothario to pay Rs. 1,500 for the 
22 



i;o THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

privilege of wedding the girl. After the marriage the 
old gentleman discovered the deception practised upon 
him, and made a formal complaint to the police, who 
traced the three culprits and secured the conviction of 
two of them. 

In 1914 the embezzlement of Rs. l,000, representing 
the fees paid by students at the Government Law School, 
led to the arrest and conviction of a clerk on the school 
staff, who was proved in the course of the police-inquiry 
to have embezzled no less than Rs. 12,000 between the 
years 1902 and 1912. At the request of the police of the 
United Provinces, two charges of filing false civil suits, 
with the object of avoiding payment of sums due by 
them, were successfully proved against natives of upper 
India ; and these were followed by an equally long and 
intricate inquiry into a case of cheating, in which three 
Hindus, one of whom had a local reputation as a palmist 
and astrologer, persuaded two Bhandaris of Bombay to 
pay them Rs. 4,000, on condition that they would use 
their supposed influence with the excise authorities to 
obtain two liquor-licenses for their dupes. In 1915 the 
Bohra thief and house-breaker, Tyebali, whose conviction 
during Mr. Cell's regime has already been mentioned, 
completed his term of imprisonment and recommenced 
his thieving exploits. After committing several thefts 
from houses in Nepean Sea road he was caught, con- 
victed and sentenced to a fresh term of six years' 
imprisonment. All the stolen property was recovered 
from a Bohra receiver, who worked with Tyebali. In 
September of the same year information was received 
from the Director of Criminal Intelligence, Delhi, that 
three valuable Persian manuscripts had been stolen from 
the library of Nawab Sir Salar Jung Bahadur at 
Hyderabad. After a lengthy inquiry the Bombay police 
traced one of the manuscripts, a Shahnama, with illumi- 
nated headings and illustrations in colours and gold, 
which was declared by experts to be an artistic treasure 
of immense value. A chance remark furnished a clue to 



IX MR. S. M. EDWARDES, C.S.L, C.V.0. 1909-1916 171 

the whereabouts of the manuscript, which was in due 
course returned to its owner in Hyderabad. 

Anonymous communications are exceedingly common 
in India, and as a rule it is practically impossible 
to trace their authorship. A case of this type, which 
presented unusual features, was successfully investigated 
by the police in 1915. For more than two years a series 
of objectionable and defamatory postcards and letters 
had been received by high officials, prominent Indians, 
and clubs. Any event of public interest during that 
period resulted in a shower of these typed communica- 
tions, which were always very scurrilous and occasionally 
flagrantly indecent. They were addressed not only to 
residents of Bombay, but to officials in other parts of 
India also, to the Governor, the Viceroy and even to 
members of the Royal Family in England. The C. I. D. 
had been able to establish the fact that all the cards and 
letters were typed on a single machine of a particular 
and well-known make; and having done that, they 
proceeded, with the approval of the postal authorities, 
to subject all the postcards received in the General Post 
Office to close scrutiny throughout a period of several 
weeks. At length their patience was rewarded. A card 
was found, which on careful scrutiny was seen to have 
been typed on the missing machine, and as it was an 
ordinary and bona fide business communication it was not 
difficult to locate the machine. It proved to be the 
property of a well-known Indian merchant, and further 
inquiry rendered it certain that he was the author of the 
anonymous cards. He was therefore arrested and 
released on bail. While the Police were collecting 
further evidence to support the charge against him, the 
accused, who had many influential friends, confessed his 
guilt to one of them and asked his advice. The friend 
advised him to make a clean breast of the whole matter 
to the Commissioner of Police and throw himself on his 
mercy. This he agreed at the moment, but in the end 
failed, to do and a few days later, while ostensibly 



1/2 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

endeavouring to light a gas-stove with a bottle of 
methylated spirit, he was so severely burned about 
the body that he died in a few hours. The case 
caused some commotion in the community, to which 
the accused belonged, and the Commissioner was 
urged to refrain at the inquest on the deceased 
from any allusion to the criminal inquiry into the 
authorship of the postcards. But this the Commissioner 
refused to do, in view of the wild rumours about the case 
which were being spread about the City, some of which 
placed the police in a false and undesirable position. It 
was doubtless satisfactory to the friends of the deceased 
that the Coroner's jury found themselves able to pro- 
nounce a verdict of accidental death. It only remains to 
add that after the arrest of the accused the plague of 
anonymous postcards entirely ceased. 

The criminal record of these years would be 
incomplete without a reference to the collapse in 
1913 of a number of Indian banks. The most notable 
of all, the Indian Specie Bank, was never made the 
subject of a criminal investigation, though the apathy 
of its Directors was unquestionable, and its manager, 
who had set out to "corner" silver against the 
Indian Government with the monies of the bank's 
depositors, found it desirable, when the crash came, to 
die suddenly at Bandora. Orders were issued by the 
Bombay Government to the Police to investigate the 
transactions of several lesser banks and bring the guilty 
to trial; and accordingly a protracted and intricate 
inquiry was commenced by Inspector Morris of the C.I.D. 
into the accounts and balance-sheets of the Credit Bank, 
the Bombay Banking Company and the Cosmopolitan 
Bank. In the case of the first-named bank, charges of 
criminal breach of trust and falsification of accounts 
were proved against the manager, who was sentenced 
in 1914 to ten years' rigorous imprisonment, while 
the manager of the Bombay Banking Company and 
his nephew were likewise convicted of criminal breach 



IX Mr. s. m. edwardes, C.S.I., c.v.o. 1909-1916 173 

of trust and cheating and sentenced to varying terms of 
imprisonment with hard labour. In the third case the 
police proved clearly that the bank was not a bank at 
all, and had neither funds, business nor influence; but 
the manager and the " bank's" broker, who were charged 
by the police with cheating, were eventually discharged 
by the trying magistrate. These bank-failures were not 
confined to Bombay, but took place in other Provinces 
also, notably in the Punjab. When the collapse com- 
menced, an attempt was made to draw some of 
the European-managed banks into the vortex, with the 
object of showing that the failures were due rather to 
general economic conditions than to bad management. 
The attempt failed ; for the Scotchmen, who form ninety 
per cent of the European banking community in India, 
were too cautious and too solidly entrenched to succumb 
to any artificial panic, and despite the assertion of some 
Indian politicians that the European-managed banks, by 
withholding assistance from these mushroom Indian 
concerns, had deliberately precipitated the crisis, the 
general conclusion was that the failures were primarily 
due to careless or fraudulent management. This view 
found confirmation in the verdicts delivered in the 
Courts. 

The collapse of at least one bank was due to the 
uncontrolled habit of speculation which has always 
distinguished the City of Bombay. Few persons now 
remain who can remember the famous Share Mania of 
the early * sixties ; but the spirit of gambling which 
underlay that colossal financial fiasco is still alive and 
manifests itself from time to time in wild speculation 
in the cotton and share markets. The abnormal readiness 
of the average Indian to follow the lead of any man of 
outstanding personality, and the ease with which credit 
is obtained and renewed in Indian circles only serve to 
aggravate the evil. The suicide of Mr. Dwarkadas 
Dharamsey, a leading Bhattia mill-agent and merchant, 
in September, 1909, provided an example of the latitude 



174 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

allowed to one whose financial position had for several 
years been very unsound. Dwarkadas Dharamsey 
was a man of great mental capacity, but devoid of 
scruple. He occupied a leading position in the 
mercantile and social world, was well-known on the 
race-course as an owner of horses, was a member of the 
Municipal Corporation and of the Board of the 
Improvement Trust, and had been appointed Sheriff of 
Bombay two or three years before his death. Yet in the 
very heyday of his prosperity he was spending 
more than he possessed, staving off importunate 
demands by all manner of temporary expedients, and 
juggling with the funds of the mills of which he was 
director and agent. Faced at last with almost complete 
insolvency and unable to raise further funds, he shot 
himself with a revolver at his house in the Fort. He left 
a kind of confession behind him in which he explained 
the reason for his action and referred in ambiguous 
language to some greater crime that he had committed. 
Though various conjectures were made as to the nature 
of this act, no definite solution was ever forthcoming. 
His secret died with him. Immediately after his death, 
the police discovered that the operatives of his four 
mills had not been paid their wages for two months, 
and owing to the closing of the mills they were left 
stranded and unemployed. With the assistance of Mr. 
R. D. Sethna, the Official Receiver, the Commissioner 
was able to get the mill-hands* wages treated as a first 
charge on the estate of the deceased, and within a short 
time the wages due to the men were liquidated under 
Mr. Sethna's orders. 

On several occasions Indian constables distinguished 
themselves by acts of bravery and examples of pro- 
fessional acumen. The detection of a burglary in the 
showroom of an English firm was due entirely to the 
action of a Hindu constable, who noticed on a piece of 
furniture the mark of a foot possessing certain 
peculiarities, which he remembered having seen before in 



DC Mr. S. M. EDWARDES, C.S.L, C.V.O. 1909-1916 I7S 

the foot of an ex-convict. Another Hindu constable 
grappled with a European who had stabbed a townsman, 
and though severely wounded in the stomach and bleeding 
profusely, managed to pursue the offender and hold him 
down till help came. On three other occasions Indian 
constables sustained severe wounds, when grappling 
single-handed with armed Pathans and others, and on 
each occasion they clung to the prisoner until his arrest 
was secured. Several instances occurred of women and 
children being saved from drowning, and in two cases 
the men were rewarded with the bronze medal of the 
Royal Humane Society. The action of a young Hindu 
constable, who had been only three months in the force, 
deserves more detailed description. About 3 a. m. one 
morning in August, 1912, a Punjab Muhammadan 
murdered his comrade in a room in Bapty road. The 
murder was not discovered till some time afterwards. At 4 
a. m. the constable on duty at the junction of Falkland 
and Foras roads saw a man hurrying in a suspicious 
manner through the shadows towards Gilder street. He 
stopped and questioned him ; and, his suspicions being 
aroused, decided to search the man. The fugitive offered 
the constable a bribe of Rs. 5, Rs. 10 and finally Rs. 30 to 
let him go; but the constable arrested him and marched 
him to the Nagpada police station, where a report of 
the murder had by that time been received. It was then 
found that the arrested fugitive was the murderer, and 
that the money with which he had tried to bribe the 
constable was stained with blood and formed part of the 
sum which he had stolen from his victim. Further 
investigation proved beyond doubt that the murdered 
man had himself stolen the money from an Englishman 
in Mussoorie. A unique case, in which an accused asked 
permission of the Magistrate to pay a reward to the 
constable who arrested him, occurred in 1914. The 
prisoner, on being questioned, explained that, owing to 
his timely arrest, he had managed to retain possession 
of a sum of money, of which he would certainly have 



i;« THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

been robbed by the disorderly persons with whom he 
was consorting at the time constable locked him up. 

Among the special events of these years which 
imposed extra work for the time being on the Police 
were the Nasik murder and conspiracy trials in the 
High Court in 1910, the visit of Lord Minto in 1909, the 
arrival of Lord Hardinge and the visit of the ex-German 
Crown Prince in 1910, and the arrival of Lord Chelmsford 
in 1916. For the first time on record, the Mounted Police 
under their European officers were permitted to form 
part of the escort both of Lord Minto and the German 
Crown Prince, and, riding grey Arabs in their handsome 
full-dress uniform, they provided not the least showy 
part of the spectacle. These Viceregal progresses from 
the railway terminus or the Apollo Bandar to Malabar 
Hill had changed in character since the beginning of 
the twentieth century. Formerly the route chosen for 
the arrival of a new Viceroy or the departure of his 
predecessor lay as a matter of course through Kalba- 
devi road and Bhendy Bazaar, and thence by way of 
Grant road, or later Sandhurst road, to Chaupati 
and Walkeshwar. No particular precautions were 
taken, for none were deemed necessary; the people 
were well-disposed and always ready to welcome the 
King*s representative as he was driven through the heart 
of the Indian quarters. But as the anarchical and revo- 
lutionary movement spread and attempts were made upon 
the lives even of Viceroys, the old route through the city 
was, except for very special reasons, gradually abandoned, 
and the incoming and departing potentates were escorted 
along the safer route of Queen's road. The distance of 
this thoroughfare from the heart of the City, and the 
growing nonchalance of the majority of the inhabitants 
in regard to Viceregal appearances in public, were 
naturally responsible for an absence of sight-seers on the 
processional route, and at times there were few persons 
to be seen except the foot-police lining the sides 01 the 
road. On the occasion of Lord Chelmsford's arrival in 



IX Mr. S. M. EDWARDES, C-S.L, C.V.O. 1909-1916 1/7 

April, 1916, one of the Superintendents, through whose 
division a portion of the route passed, determined to 
keep up appearances of loyal welcome, by collecting the 
necessary crowd at Sandhurst Bridge and instructing 
them beforehand in the art of hand-clapping and other 
manifestations of popular satisfaction. As it was 
obviously impossible to impress respectable householders 
and others for this duty, the sectional officers were 
instructed to shepherd their bad characters of both sexes 
to the fixed point, after arranging that they all donned 
clean clothes and were paid 2 annas apiece for their 
trouble. The plan worked well. As the new Viceroy's 
carriage swept out of Queen's road on to the bridge, the 
signal was given and a hearty burst of hand-clapping, 
punctured with cries of shabash, rose from the little crowd 
of disreputables at the comer. No one knew who they 
were, except the police who had hunted them out of their 
haunts a few hours previously : and the Viceroy was 
doubtless gratified at this signal expression of welcome. 
When the last of the escort had passed, the unfortunates 
were taken back to their quarter and there set free to 
resume their ordinary and less harmless avocations. 

There was no need of artificial welcomes of this 
character when Their Majesties visited Bombay in 191 1, 
or at their final departure in 1912. They drove through 
the heart of the City ; and both in the wide thoroughfares 
of the European business-quarter and in the narrower 
streets of the Indian city they were affectionately greeted 
and welcomed by thousands of their subjects of all castes 
and creeds. Their progress was, indeed, a triumph. The 
choice of the route had not been settled without some 
doubt and misgiving. The authorities in England 
declared that the royal procession must not pass along 
any road of less than a certain width: the Commissioner 
of Police pointed out that this restriction would entirely 
debar Their Majesties from entering the City north of 
Carnac road. The restriction was therefore waived, on 
condition that the Police adopted all possible measures 

23 



178 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

to render the route completely secure. This by no means 
easy task was achieved by the C. I. D. and the divisional 
police, of whom the former spent the three months 
preceding the Royal Visit in mapping out the houses 
on the route, making themselves acquainted with all the 
inmates, posting plain-clothes men and agents in the 
upper-storeys, and keeping a daily register of arrivals 
and departures. In one or two cases the divisional 
police, whose duties lay in holding the route and directing 
traffic, imposed even stricter conditions than the C. I. D., 
as the following incident proves. Three or four days 
before Their Majesties' arrival, an elderly Muhammadan 
woman of the lower class visited the Head Police Office 
and asked for an interview with the Commissioner. Her 
request was granted; and on being shown in, she informed 
the Commissioner that she occupied a room in the upper- 
storey of a house near the junction of Sandhurst and 
Parel roads, and that she desired permission to look out 
of her window at the royal procession. " But " said the 
Commissioner, " you need no permission for that." " Yes, 
Huzur, I do *\ she answered ; ** the section-wala (/. e, the 
officer in charge of a police-station) says that unless I 
obtain a permit I must keep my window shut on the day". 
It was clearly useless to argue with the old lady, who 
was honestly bent upon obtaining darshan of the Padshah. 
The Commissioner, therefore, wrote out the following 
pass in his own hand, signed it, and sent her away 
satisfied : — 

"To all Police Officers and those whom it may 
concern. 

This is to certify that Aminabai, living in House 

No street, second 

floor, is hereby granted permission to look out 
of her own window at His Majesty the King- 
Emperor, on the occasion of the Royal Progress 
through Bombay on December 2nd. 191 1. 

S. M. Edwardes, 
Commissioner of Police" 



IX Mr.S. M. EDWARDES,C.S.L,C.V.O. 1909-1916 179 

As an additional precaution the Commissioner of 
Police asked the Bombay Government to invest him with 
special magisterial powers, which would enable him to 
deal summarily with persons of bad character, whose 
liberty it might be necessary to curtail during the period 
of the Royal Visit. The request having been granted, 
the Commissioner proceeded to remand to jail the 
majority of the well-known hooligans and bad characters, 
to the number of 400. Fully another three hundred 
persons with guilty consciences decided to leave 
Bombay for a holiday up-country, in the belief that 
they would be sent to jail if they stayed in the City. In 
this way the City was cleared of seven or eight hundred 
of its worst characters, and the daily crime returns 
subsequently proved that the action thus taken produced 
a very marked diminution of crime during the period of 
the Royal Visit. Moreover, respectable townspeople, 
learning of the incarceration of the criminal classes, were 
able to leave their houses freely at night to visit the 
illuminations, without fear of burglaries occurring in 
their absence or of having their pockets picked in the 
crowd. Political offenders, who usually belonged to a 
higher stratum of society, were treated differently. In 
one or two cases they were remanded to jail for treat- 
ment as first-class misdemeanants : but the majority 
were given the option of spending a fortnight in some 
place chosen by themselves, the police of that place being 
warned of their arrival and of the need of keeping them 
under surveillance. In one instance a detenu asked 
to be allowed to visit Ceylon, which he had never seen, 
and he was accordingly sent there in company with a 
plain-clothes officer of the C. I. D., who duly escorted 
him back again at the end of fifteen days. The entire 
absence of any protest on the part of the public or the 
Indian press against the Commissioner's action shows 
that the powers were wielded cautiously and that special 
measures of this kind were generally accepted as 
appropriate to the occasion. The wholesale dis- 



l8o THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

appearance for the time being of the criminal and hooligan 
element certainly contributed to the peaceful and orderly- 
progress of the Visit, and produced an immediate and 
marked decline of crime, which enabled the police to 
concentrate all their attention on the special arrangements 
for the functions held during Their Majesties* stay. 

Both before and during the Royal Visit, the Police 

received much help from the public. There was scarcely 

a householder who did not willingly undertake to carry 

out the suggestions of the police, and a large number of 

people, drawn from various classes and communities, 

volunteered to serve as special constables during the 

Visit. As to the manner in which the police force itself 

performed its heavy work, it will suffice to quote the 

words of the Govemor-in-Council, who was " commanded 

to express to the Police of the City of Bombay His 

Imperial Majesty's 'entire satisfaction with the admirable 

police arrangements made during His Imperial Majesty's 

recent visit to Bombay and with the manner in which 

they were carried out ' ". In recognition of the 

exemplary performance of heavy additional duties, all 

ranks of the force, from inspectors downwards, received 

a special bonus, equivalent to ten days' pay. Four 

Superintendents and three Inspectors received the medal 

of the Royal Victorian Order from the King-Emperor 

himself. 

The subject of cotton-fires at the Colaba Green was 
revived by the disastrous epidemic of fires in the cold 
weather of 1913-14. As previously mentioned, a special 
committee was appointed by Government, with the Com- 
missioner of Police as chairman, to enquire into the 
origin of the fires and suggest precautions for the future. 
The report of this committee, which found that the 
weight of evidence pointed to wholesale incendiarism, 
was submitted only a few weeks before the outbreak of 
War in 1914, and consequently received early burial in 
the records of the Secretariat. The deductions of the 
Committee were strengthened to some extent by the 



IX MR. S. M. EDWARDES, C.S.L, C.V.O. 1909-1916 181 

inquiries carried out by the C. L D. during 1914. A 
thorough examination of the books of various companies 
established beyond a shadow of doubt that large fortunes 
had been made over the fires by persons in the cotton 
trade, as a result of fraudulent dealing, mixing and 
classification of cotton. This system of dishonesty had 
been facilitated by slack methods of insurance, which in 
turn were rendered profitable by clever underwriting. 
It is doubtful whether these little * idiosyncrasies ' of the 
Bombay cotton market will ever be wholly eradicated. 

It is possible that long after the details of the 
reorganization of the police force have passed into 
oblivion, Mr. Edwardes' tenure of office will be 
remembered for the abolition of the dangerous and 
rowdy side of the annual Muharram celebration. At the 
time he was appointed Commissioner, the Muharram, 
which had been a cause of excitement and anxiety from the 
days of Forjett, had degenerated into an annual scandal 
and become a menace to the peace of the city. No respect- 
able Musalman took part in the annual procession of 
tabuts, nor would permit his family to visit the tazias and 
tabuts during the ten days of the festival, for fear of 
insult and annoyance from the badmashes and hooligans, 
who chose the sites of the tabuts in the various mohollas 
as their gathering-ground. The cost of building and 
decorating each tazia and tabut was defrayed by a public 
subscription, which had degenerated into pure and simple 
blackmail, levied by the less respectable denizens 
of each moholla upon the general public. The Marwadi 
and other Hindu merchants suffered particularly from 
this practice ; at times they were threatened with physical 
injury if they did not subscribe ; on other occasions the 
collecting-party, composed of four or five Muhammadan 
roughs, would visit the shops of the Jain merchants, 
carrying a dead rat, and threaten to drop it into the heaps 
of grain and sugar if the shop-owner did not forthwith 
hand out a fair sura. By the exercise of pressure and 
threats, some mohollas contrived to raise comparatively 
large sums, aggregating several hundred rupees, and as 



i82 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

only a fractional portion of this money was required to 
defray the cost of the tahut and the paraphernalia of the 
final procession, the balance was devoted to the support 
of the hooligans of the mohollas during the following few 
months. Attached to each tahuU and accompanying it 
whenever it was carried out in procession, was a toll 
or band of attendants, usually varying in numbers from 
50 to 200 and composed of the riff-raff of the lower 
quarters. In some cases these tolis had been gradually 
allowed to assume a gigantic size, as for example that of 
the Julhai weavers of Ripon road (Madanpura), which 
comprised from two to three thousand men, all armed 
with lathis tipped with brass or lead. Similarly the 
notorious Rangari moholla (Abdul Rehman street), Halai 
Memon moholla, Kolsa moholla and Chuna Batti moholla, 
could count upon turning out several thousand followers, 
armed with sticks and staves, who could be trusted to 
render a good account of themselves if there was a 
breach of the public peace. 

The time-honoured sectarian enmity between Sunni 
and Shia usually showed itself by the second day of 
the festival, in the form of insults hurled at the Bohras 
(Shias) by the Sunni rag-tag and bobtail in the various 
streets occupied by the former. The most notorious of 
these centres of disturbance was Doctor Street, which 
debouched into Grant road opposite SuUiman chauki; 
but none of the Bohra quarters were safe from 
disturbance j and year after year Bohra merchants had to 
leave Bombay during the festival, or had to secure 
special protection, and even had to disguise their women 
in male attire, in the hope of thereby minimising the 
chance of insult by the lower-class Sunnis. Muharram 
rioting, which had become much too frequent during the 
first decade of this century, usually commenced with a 
fracas of some sort between Sunnis and Bohras, in which 
the former were generally the aggressors ; and when the 
Police intervened to restore order, the mob on one pretext 
or another declared war against them with the inevitable 



IX MR. S. M. EDWARDES, C.SJ.,C.V.O. 1909-1916 183 

result. The Sunni hooligans would never have reached 
the pitch of insolence which marked their behaviour in 
1910, had they not felt assured that they had the support 
of the leading Sunnis residing in the mohollas, many of 
whom, though comparatively wealthy, were almost 
illiterate and totally uncultured ; and the latter in turn 
were prompted to foster the more rowdy and disreputable 
aspects of the festival by the belief that the Moslem 
community thereby acquired more importance, even 
though of a sinister character, in the eyes of Government, 
and that the possibility of disturbance could be 
occasionally used as a lever to secure consideration or 
concessions in other directions. 

This belief was partly confirmed by the attitude 
of the authorities, who persisted in attaching undue 
weight to the religious character of the festival, — a 
character which had practically ceased to have any 
influence on the celebrants, and in accordance with the 
time-honoured principle of strict religious neutrality 
showed great reluctance to impose any restrictions upon 
the celebration. The Police, who in times of disturbance 
often reaped a fair harvest of tips and presents 
from timorous towns-people who desired protection 
from mob-violence, and who also discovered in the 
aftermath of rioting an easy means of paying off 
old scores, had never troubled to explain to 
Government the precise character and danger of the 
annual Muharram. The old doctrine of "the safety- 
valve " was still in favour, with the result that during the 
concluding days of the festival Bombay used to witness 
the spectacle of police officers of the upper ranks 
urging the most uncompromising rascals to lift the 
tahuts and form the processions, regardless of the 
fact that at any other season of the year they 
would not have hesitated to lock up most of these 
disreputables at sight. In short, under the cloak of 
religion, the worst elements in the bazaar were permitted 
to burst their bounds for ten days and flow over the 



184 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

central portion of the City in a current of excessive 
turbulence, to terrorize the peaceful householder and to 
play intolerable mischief in the streets. If the leaders 
and wire-pullers decided that there should be a dis- 
turbance, culminating in a conflict with the police, all they 
had to do was to pass the order to the various mohollas 
not to " lift" their tabuts on the tenth day and to the Bara 
Imam shrine in Khoja street not to send out the sandal- 
procession on the ninth night. This latter procession 
was, so to speak, the barometer of the Muharram, and its 
non-appearance in the streets invariably indicated storm. 
Once it had been decided not to *' lift " the tabuts^ the 
huge tolis, which should have accompanied them to their 
final immersion in the sea, were let loose in the streets 
with nothing to do, and a breach of the peace was 
rendered practically inevitable. When this point was 
reached on the last day, it was customary for the Afghans 
and Pathans, residing in the B division, to collect in 
groups in the lanes behind Parel road (Bhendy Bazar), 
and at the right moment to commence looting and setting 
fire to shops. In the Muharram riots of 1908 it was these 
people who set fire to a shop on Parel road and threw a 
Hindu constable into the middle of the flames. The 
only unobjectionable feature of the old Muharram was 
the Waaz or religious discourse, which was delivered 
nightly in each of the leading mohollas by a chosen 
Maulvi or Mulla. Unfortunately these were very little 
patronized by the hooligans and damaged characters, who 
composed the tolis and monopolized the celebration of 
the festival in the streets. 

Mr. Edwardes' first Muharram in 1910 ended without 
an actual breach of the peace: but the behaviour of the 
mohollas was so insolent, and the license and obscenity 
displayed by the mob were so intolerable, particularly 
in the Bohra quarter of the C division, that he 
determined to impose restrictions at the Muharram of 
January, 1911. Accordingly in December, 1910, he issued 
a notification closing Doctor Street and the neighbouring 



DC Mr. S. M. EDWARDES, C.S.I., C.V.0. 1909-1916 i8S 

lanes running parallel with it to all processionists 
throughout the period of the festival, and from the first 
night he placed a strong cordon of police round the 
prohibited area, to prevent any attempt by the mob to 
break the order. Practically the whole police force was 
on continuous duty for ten days and nights in the streets, 
and commissariat arrangements for both European and 
Indian police had to be made on the spot. Though no 
serious trouble occurred during the first few days 
of the festival, there were several indications 
of trouble brewing, and the Commissioner there- 
fore arranged with Brigadier-General John Swann 
to hold garrison troops in readiness. On the tenth night 
or Katal-ki-rat a serious disturbance broke out in Bhendy 
Bazar about 3 a. m., in connexion with the procession 
of the Rangari moholla tabuU Free fighting between 
the processionists and the mob from other mohollas took 
place all the way from Grant road to Pydhoni, and 
it was due solely to the efforts of Mr. Vincent, the 
Deputy Commissioner, and a handful of police who were 
escorting the procession, that the tabut was eventually 
brought back to its resting-place. The mob by this 
time had tasted blood and displayed so truculent an 
attitude that the Commissioner decided to telephone 
for the troops and picket them throughout the danger 
zone. By 4 a. m. on January 1 2th the troops had taken 
their places, and the mob, for the moment deeming 
discretion the better part of valour, melted away in the 
darkness. About 5 P» m., however, in the afternoon 
of the same day, the mob, which declined to carry out 
the tabuts in procession, collected on Parel road and 
Memonwada road and commenced stoning the troops 
and police. They also stopped all traffic, stoned tram- 
cars and private carriages, and roughly handled several 
harmless pedestrians. The polic© made several charges 
upon them from Pydhoni, but were unable permanently 
to disperse the rioters. At length the Commissioner, 
seeing that the two mobs refused to disperse and were 



I86 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

practically out of hand, and that the Pathans were on 
the point of breaking loose, called Rao Bahadur Chunilal 
H. Setalwad, one of the Presidency Magistrates, who 
was on duty at SuUiman Chauki, and asked him to give 
the order to the troops ( the Warwickshire Regiment ) 
picketed at Pydhoni to fire on the mob. The order was 
given at once and the rioting ceased. ^ 

Like Napoleon's famous "whiff of grapeshot ", the 
firing of the Warwicks may be said to have blown the 
old Muharram into the limboof oblivion. From that 
date, January 1911, the processional part of the 
Muharram, with its tolis, its blackmail, its terrorism and its 
obscenities, ceased to exist and has not up to the present 
1922 been revived. Before the succeeding Muharram 
drew near, the Commissioner had framed new rules for the 
celebration, of which the deposit by tabut-license holders 
of ample security for good behaviour and a complete 
revision of the processional route for each tabut were 
two of the main features. He had also contrived to 
persuade the leaders of the various Muhammadan 
sections and mohollas that the orgiastic method of 
celebrating the festival was an anachronism, not 
countenanced by Islamic teaching and gravely injurious 
to the City. In thus securing the obliteration of the 
customs and practices, which for more than fifty years 
had been responsible for periodical outbreaks of 
disorder, the Commissioner was greatly assisted by some 
of the leading men of the Sunni jamais, of whom the 
most conspicuous and most helpful was Sirdar Saheb 
SuUiman Cassum Haji Mitha, C. I. E., of Kolsa Moholla, 
He led the way at succeeding Muharrams in popularizing 
the waaz or nightly religious discourses and in spending 
upon them, and upon illuminations and charitable 
distribution of food to the poorer classes, the money 
which was formerly wasted on irreverent and turbulent 

I. A full and detailed report of the disturbance is given in Mr. 
Edwardes' letter to Government, No. 545 C. of January 20th, 
191 1, printed below as an Appendix, 



IX Mr. S. M. EDWARDES, CS.L, C.V.O. 1909-1916 187 

processions. For this fundamental change in the charac- 
ter of the festival none perhaps were more grateful 
than the Maulvis and Miillas who presided over the waaz\ 
for with the disappearance of the tolis and their para- 
phernalia their audiences were enormously increased. 
But respectable Moslems and the general public also 
breathed a sigh of relief, on realizing that the long- 
standing annual menace to law and order had been 
exorcised. In December, 1914, on the conclusion of the 
fourth Muharram celebrated in the new manner, the 
Bombay Government wrote to Mr. Edwardes, expressing 
their thanks for his unremitting efiforts and skilful 
management of the festival. "The result'*, they 
remarked, "is in large measure due to the excellent 
relations which you established between the Muhammadan 
leaders and yourself, thus rendering it possible to 
relegate to the past the disreputable ceremonies which 
used to disfigure the Muharram. It is now possible to 
regard the new regulations as having become permanently 
established ". 

Such, very briefly, is the history of the purification 
of the Bombay Muharram. The old days, when the 
police were on continuous duty for ten days and nights, 
when the Bohras were subjected to volleys of the vilest 
and most obscene abuse and to open assault, when the 
lowest and most turbulent portion of the population was 
permitted to take charge of the central portion of the 
city, and when rioting with its complement of drastic 
repression was liable to recur in any year — those days 
have passed, and one hopes that a weak administration 
will never permit them to recur. The present puritanical 
and more reverent method of celebration was firmly 
established during Mr. Edwardes* Commissionership 
with the help and approval of leading Muhammadans, 
who realized at length that the annual orgy in the streets 
was a disgrace to Islam. 

It remains only to notice the effect upon the police 
of the outbreak of the Great War in August, 191^. The 



I88 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

day after War was declared, local shopkeepers, parti- 
cularly the dealers in foodstuffs, commenced to raise 
their prices to famine level, and large numbers of the 
poorer classes appealed to the police for assistance. 
Government having decided to appoint a food-price 
committee, the Commissioner ordered a hattaki to be 
beaten throughout the City for three days ; several 
shopkeepers who were disposed to be recalcitrant were 
called up to the Head Police Office and warned ; and 
in neveral cases constables were posted at shops to see 
that prices were not unduly raised. Excess amounts 
received by shop-keepers from mill-hands and others 
were in many cases recovered and paid back to the 
purchasers, and a series of judiciously-fabricated reports 
were spread by chosen agents, describing the imaginary 
fate which had overtaken certain shopkeepers, who had 
extorted fancy prices from the public. Somewhat 
similar action was taken with excellent effect in the 
case of retail-dealers, who refused to accept currency- 
notes of small denominations from the poorer classes. 
Within a few days these measures produced the 
required effect, and trade again became normal. The 
police were on constant duty day and night at the 
Government Dockyard, at the various military camps 
erected for the Indian Expeditionary Force, and during 
the economic disturbance in the early days of the War at 
the banks and Currency Office. They assisted the 
military authorities to find Dhobis, Bhistis and other 
camp-followers for enrolment, they traced absentee 
followers and native seamen, and during the heavy rain- 
storms of October, 1914, they found accommodation in 
permanent buildings for the troops under canvas. They 
took charge of coal-stacks for the Director, R. I. M., and 
did much extra duty at the Wadi Bandar railway goods- 
sheds. They displayed great tact in their management 
of the crowds which used to collect in the streets to hear 
the special editions of the vernacular newspapers read 
out during the early months of the War ; and during the 



DC Mr. S. M. EDWARDES, C.S.L, C.V.O. 1909-1919 189 

aeroplane scare, they were equally successful in dealing 
with the mobs which used to scan the skies for airships. 
While the Emden was seizing vessels in the Bay of 
Bengal and bombarding Madras, there was again a scare 
in the City and some of the more timorous merchants, 
taking their cash and jewellery with them, fled to their 
homes in Native States, where in several cases the local 
police kindly relieved them of most of their valuables. 
Others, equally timorous but more reasonable, applied to 
the Police Commissioner for advice, and were satisfied 
with his assurance that if it should become necessary to 
vacate Bombay, he would give them ample warning 
beforehand. Trusting to this promise, many Hindu 
merchants remained in the City, who would otherwise 
have fled. 

During the movement of the Expeditionary Forces, 
the scenes in certain quarters of the bazar, which were 
heavily patronized by soldiers and sailors, both European 
and Indian, beggared description. The Japanese quarter 
appeared to off'er special attractions to fighting-men of 
Mongolian type, and the divisional police had a hard 
task to settle disputes and maintain order in these areas. 
In the mill-district there was unrest for some little time ; 
but this was at length discounted by the labours of three 
Hindu gentlemen, Messrs. H. A. Talcherkar, S. K. Bole, 
and K. R. Koregaonkar, who volunteered their services 
as intermediaries between the Police Commissioner and 
the industrial population, and by means of lectures on 
the war, social gatherings and so forth, helped to keep 
the police in touch with popular feeling and to minimise 
panic. Very arduous work fell upon the Harbour police 
in connexion with the patrol of the various bandars and 
wharves, the boarding of all vessels entering the harbour, 
and the many miscellaneous and emergent requisitions 
entailed by war conditions. The old police launch which 
at its best was never very seaworthy, broke down under 
the strain and had to be docked for repairs to her 
machinery ; but the Harbour police continued to carry 



190 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

on their duties by borrowing launches from other depart- 
ments. The desertion of lascar crews at the beginning 
of the submarine scare caused much trouble to the 
Shipping Master and to the steamship-companies, and on 
several occasions serangs and other Indian seamen were 
brought to the Head Police Office to have their appre- 
hensions allayed. When Turkey entered the war, the 
Divisional police took a census and compiled a register 
of all Turkish subjects in the City, excluding certain 
wealthy Arabs of the upper class, who were visited by 
Muhammadan police officers specially deputed for this 
duty by the Commissioner. 

The bulk of the confidential war work fell naturally 
upon the Criminal Investigation Department. Before the 
organization of the Postal Censor's office, and in some 
cases also afterwards, the department scrutinized letters 
addressed to enemy subjects; it studied closely the 
daily and weekly newspapers in all languages, and 
prepared a daily report for the military authorities on 
the publication of war-news ; it carried out requests for 
information and assistance from the Brigade Office, the 
Customs Department, and the Controller of Hostile 
Trading Concerns. It prepared lists for Government of 
hostile, allied and neutral foreigners resident in Bombay ; 
it mustered all German and Austrian males, numbering 
respectively 189 and 37, at the Head Police Office, 
confiscated their fire-arms, and eventually dispatched 
them under arrest to the Ahmadnagar Detention Camp, 
whither were also sent many enemy foreigners subse- 
quently removed from enemy ships in the harbour. It 
also kept under surveillance a certain number of persons 
who were permitted to remain on parole in Bombay ; it 
kept under observation and deported a large number of 
transfrontier Pathans and tribesmen, under special powers 
granted for this purpose to the Commissioner ; it arrested 
the officers and crew of a captured Turkish vessel and 
placed them in detention, and deported many Turkish 
subjects to Jeddah. The department also housed and 



JX MR. S. M. EDWARDES, C.S.L, C.V.0. 1909-1916 19I 

fed for two months two hundred and sixty Chinese, who 
were removed from German prize vessels. One of the 
more amusing features of their arrival was the disgust 
shown by the Muhammadan police-officer, told off to 
arrange for their supply of food, when they begged him 
in a body to buy up all the pork he could find in the 
bazaar. Military prisoners from Mesopotamia were 
taken over and placed in charge of the proper authorities ; 
constant inquiries were made about firms suspected of 
trading with the enemy ; and from the end of 1915 the 
department had to organize a system of passes for all 
persons desiring to land at Basra or Mohammerah. 

The process of clearing Bombay of hostile aliens of 
both sexes was finally completed in 1915. Among them 
were six ladies, a few children, one or two Jesuit priests, 
and eighteen prostitutes, who were sent to Calcutta for 
repatriation to Holland by the S. S. Golconda, This party 
left Bombay by special train, the respectable women and 
children being placed in the front carriages, the priests 
and the police-escort in the centre, and the unfortunate 
denizens of the brothels in the rear-compartments. The 
moment of departure was enlivened by a gentleman, 
belonging to the priestly class of a well-known 
community, who had been keeping one of the Austrian 
harlots. He came to see the lady off and burst into 
floods of tears and loud groans, as the train steamed out 
of the station. One of the most ticklish duties entrusted 
to the police occurred during the Muharram of 1915. 
A regiment composed of north-country Muham- 
madans was on the point of embarking for 
Mesopotamia, when one of the men murdered their 
English major. He was court-martialled without delay 
and sentenced to be hanged ; and the military authorities, 
who handed him over to the police pending his execution, 
were very anxious that his punishment should be 
witnessed by the rest of the regiment. There was a 
general undercurrent of unrest at the time in the 
Muhammadan quarter, owing to sympathy with Turkey, 



193 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. 

and the Muharram festival was in progress. Any undue 
publicity given to the execution, and the overt movement 
of troops through the City, might have brought about an 
outbreak. Arrangements were therefore made by the 
Police to hang the culprit at the BycuUa jail before 
daybreak and to march the regiment to the spot by a 
circuitous route, with a British regiment in attendance to 
prevent any attempt at mutiny. The execution was 
carried out without a hitch, and the regiment was back 
at its temporary quarters in the docks before the City 
was properly awake. 

In conclusion it may be added that the whole police 
force, and the clerical staff of the Commissioner, 
subscribed one day's pay apiece to the Bombay 
Presidency Branch of the Imperial War Relief Fund. 
This sum was augmented to a total of Rs. 15,000 by 
subscriptions received by the Commissioner from a 
motley assortment of local characters, among whom may 
be mentioned the leading Hindu dancing-girls, the 
Sadhus and Bairagis in Bai Jankibai's dharamshala, the 
local Pathans working in the Docks, the Sidis or African 
Muhammadans, the Persian Zoroastrians or Iranis, who 
are mostly tea-shop keepers, and a Parsi amateur 
theatrical company. It says something for the good 
relations subsisting between the police and the general 
public that classes such as these voluntarily offered their 
contributions as soon as the general appeal for funds 
was issued under the auspices of Lord Willingdon, the 
Governor. 

In two respects the Commissioner's regime was 
fortunate. He had an excellent and very hardworking 
clerical staff ; and the relations between the Magistracy 
and the Police were uniformly cordial. Shortly after 
Mr. Edwardes joined the appointment in 1909, the old 
head-clerk, Mr. Ramchandra Dharadhar, retired, and his 
place was taken by Mr. Vinayakrao Dinanath, whose 
early service dated back to the days of Sir Frank Souter. 
Under him and the second clerk, Mr. Chhaganlal M, 



IX Mr. s. m. edwardes, c.s.l, c.v.o. 1909-1916 193 

Tijoriwala, L S. O., who has since succeeded to the 
head-clerk's post with the title of ** Superintendent of the 
Commissioner's office," an immense volume of 
correspondence was dealt with, which was often of so 
urgent a character that the staff was obliged to work on 
Sundays and to give up the public and sectional holidays 
allowed to all departments of Government. 

Throughout this period the appointment of Chief 
Presidency Magistrate was held by Mr. A. H. S. Aston, 
whose transparent honesty of thought and purpose 
would have been an asset to any Bench ; and he was ably 
seconded by Rao Bahadur Chunilal H. Setalwad, C. L E., 
Mr. Oliveira, and Mr. Gulamhussein R. Khairaz. Mr. 
Setalwad combined with wide legal experience a 
valuable knowledge of the customs and idiosyncrasies 
of the many classes resident in Bombay, and in seasons 
of unrest and disturbance he was among the first to offer 
his services to the Police Commissioner towards the 
restoration of order. While he and his colleagues gave 
the police every support from the Bench, they never 
hesitated to inform the Commissioner personally of cases 
in which, in their opinion, the subordinate police had 
acted in error or exceeded their powers — a course of 
action which was most helpful to the head of the police 
force. 

By the end of 1915 the strain of nearly seven years' 
work and the additional burden imposed by war 
conditions had told so heavily upon Mr. Edwardes' 
health that he asked the Bombay Government to transfer 
him to another appointment. He was offered and 
accepted the post of Municipal Commissioner, and bade 
a final adieu to the Police force on April 15th, 1916. But 
he was not destined to serve long -in the Municipality. 
An old pulmonary complaint, which was seriously 
aggravated by the constant strain of police duty, 
developed so rapidly that he was obliged to take 
furlough to England in the following October and 
eventually to retire from the service on medical certificate 

36 



t94 



THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE CHAP. DC 



in April, 191 8. A few months after his final retirement, 
the Governor of Bombay, Lord Willingdon, unveiled at 
the Head Police Office a marble bust of the ex- 
Commissioner, which, in the words engraved on the 
pedestal, was "erected by subscriptions from all ranks 
of the Bombay City Police in appreciation of many and 
valued services rendered to the Force". 



APPENDIX 

MR. Edwardes* Report on the final Moharram 
Riot of 191 i and the Bombay Government's 

ORDER thereon 



No. 1431 

Bombay Castle, 8th March, 1911 

Disturbances in Bombay during the Moharram oflQII 
No. 545— C, dated 20th January, 1911 
From — S. M. Edwardes, Esquire, I. C. S., 

Commissioner of Police, Bombay ; 
Tor-The Secretary to Government, 

Judicial Department, Bombay. 

I have the honour to state with regret that a serious 
outbreak took place in the City on the early morning of 
the I2th January in connection with the Moharram Tabut 
procession and that it was followed on the afternoon of 
the same day by a violent disturbance of such a character 
that I was forced to send for a magistrate to give an 
order to the troops, on duty at the scene of disturbance, 
to fire on the mob. I submit hereunder a full account of 
the circumstances which rendered this order necessary. 

2. The Moharram of 1911 commenced on the 2nd 
January. As Government are aware, I had with their 
approval issued a notification, dated 8th December 1910, 
closing Pakmodia Street, Dhabu Street, Doctor Street, 
Chimna Butcher Street and Mutton Street to all 
processionists throughout the Moharram. This order was 
rendered necessary by the behaviour of the Mahommedan 
MohoUas at the Moharram of 1910 and by the intolerable 
rowdiness and obscene license which for the last 6 or 7 
years have characterized the progress of the procession 
through the Shia Borah locality of Doctor Street and 
neighbouring lanes. 



196 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE 

3. The notification was not favourably received by 
the lower classes who take part in the Bombay Moharram, 
but was welcomed both by the Shias and respectable 
Sunnis as a step in the right direction. Till about a 
week before the first night of the festival it was generally 
understood that the various Mohollas would not apply 
for licenses and that they would sulk as they did last 
year. This in itself constitutes a serious menace to 
public peace and order, as the non-appearance of the 
tabuts and tazias in the streets lets loose the gangs or 
tolis ( numbering several thousands and composed of the 
riffraff of the Musalman quarter ) which usually accompa- 
ny the mimic tombs to the water-side. However, after 
considerable vacillation, the leading Mohollas, Rangari, 
Kolsa, Chuna Batti and others, held a meeting at which 
it was decided openly to apply for licenses to me and to 
celebrate the festival in the usual manner. Shortly after 
this meeting it transpired that one of those who advocated 
most strongly the application for licenses and the 
observance of the police orders regarding Doctor Street 
was one Badlu, who lives in Madanpura and controls a 
tabut supported by the Julhai weavers of that locality. 
It appears that his action was part of a settled policy 
between himself and the notorious Rangari Moholla, the 
nature of which will be disclosed a little further on. It 
also transpired that the Konkani Mahomedan Mohollas 
were up in arms both against my order and against 
Rangari Moholla and its leader, Latiff, the tea shop- 
keeper, and that they found strong sympathisers among 
the Mohollas of the E division, and Bengalpura, Tell 
Gali, Bapu Hajam and Kasai Mohollas in the B division. 
The bone of contention was the closing of Doctor Street. 
The Konkani Mahomedans declared that the behaviour 
of the Mohollas at the Moharram of 1910 had obliged the 
Police Commissioner to take action in regard to Doctor 
Street, which was perfectly true, and secondly that that 
behaviour had been dictated and forced upon all the 
Mohollas in 1910 by Latiff and the Memons of Rangari 
Moholla, which was equally undeniable. They were 
incensed to find Latiff now advocating the observance of 
the festival and obedience to the Police Order, and 
declared that they would not lift their tabuts and would 
not have anything further to do with Rangari Moholla. 
Nevertheless, while thus secretly determined not to go 
out in procession and nursing violent hostility to Rangari 
Moholla, they declared openly that there was nothing 



-I 



APPENDIX 197 

amiss and applied for tabut licenses as soon as 
Rangari, Kolsa and Chuna Batti Mohollas applied for 
theirs. 

4. The policy of Badlu and Latiff of Rangari 
Moholla became apparent as soon as Latiff applied for 
his tabut-license. He asked me personally to grant the 
Julhais a pass for the procession. For, finding that there 
was considerable feeling against him among the Konkanis 
and the Mohollas who sympathised with them, he foresaw 
that, unless he commanded a strong following from some 
other quarter, the Rangari Moholla procession would be 
rather a poor one. He therefore without doubt arranged 
with Badlu that if he ( Latiff ) could squeeze a pass out 
of the Police, the Julhais were to amalgamate with his 
Moholla and make a brave display in front of the 
recalcitrant Mohollas. 

I refused absolutely to give a pass, after consulting 
all persons who were in a position to give an opinion on 
the point. Government are aware that the Julhais 
are an extremely illiterate and fanatical population. 
When once an individual gets influence over them, they 
will do anything that he asks ; and it has always been 
the policy of the police to forbid their bringing their 
tabut out in the ordinary procession and to prevent them 
coming anywhere south of the Parsi Statue on the 
Katal-ki-rat and the last day. The Julhais can, if they 
obtain a pass, bring out a toll of about 3,000 men, all 
armed with lathis, many of which are knobbed and tipped 
with brass or iron. I have had something to do with 
them, in the matter of getting them re-employed after 
a strike and obtaining their back wages from their 
employers : and in view of the gratitude which they 
professed for this help, I decided to send for Badlu 
myself and explain to him that it was'impossible for me 
to grant them a pass, much as I regretted my inability 
to do so, Badlu after 20 minutes' talk with me was quite 
reasonable and undertook not to worry any more about 
a pass and to keep his following cool. Apparently Latiff 
and Rangari Moholla were not very pleased at my 
having checkmated them, and from that moment Latiff 
began to talk somewhat ambiguously about the possible 
failure of the procession. Badlu, however, stuck to his 
promise to me, and the Julhais in a body took their tabut 
out and immersed it in the usual way in the area north 
of the Parsi Statue. 



198 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE 

5. The next symptom of possible trouble concerned 
the ugardni or collection of funds for the tabut and 
procession, which each MohoUa levies on the general 
public. Government are possibly not aware that it costs 
a MohoUa anything from Rs. lOO to 400 to erect a Tabut 
and carry it out, and there are 105 MohoUas in the 
city which usually do so. The bulk of this money is 
extorted — there is no other word for it — from Marwadi and 
Bania merchants, who are threatened with physical injury 
unless they subscribe liberally. Just prior to the com- 
mencement of the Moharram, certain Marwadi merchants 
came and made a complaint at the Paidhuni Police 
Station that they were being harassed and assaulted by 
Bengalpura Moholla. The Divisional Police very 
properly made an enquiry into the complaint and finding 
it to be true, sent for the leaders of that Moholla and 
gave them a strict warning not to extort any more 
money from Hindu merchants. This was treated as a 
grievance, and Latiff himself had the impertinence to 
come to the Head Police Office and complain that "the 
police were not assisting the collection of funds ". 

Added to these alleged grievances, rumour was also 
rife that the Bohras had been openly boasting that they had 
got Doctor Street closed and that they had won a victory 
over the Sunnis. I believe there is some foundation for 
this report, and that some of the lower-class Bohras, who 
number amongst them several very bad characters, did 
inflame the minds of individual Sunnis by talking and 
acting in a very indiscreet manner. 

6. Such was the position at the opening of the 
Moharram on the 2nd January. In view of the notification 
alluded to above and in order to prevent any attempt 
to rush Doctor Street, I had to place a permanent cordon 
round the prohibited area from the first night, consisting 
of 324 native police and 30 European officers. In 
addition to this I had strong guards at Paidhuni, SuUiman 
Chowkey, the J. J. Hospital corner and Nail Bazaar, which 
were strengthened from the 6th night of the Moharram 
with pickets of armed police and mounted police. The 
men on the cordon and at the places mentioned were on 
practically continuous duty for ten nights and days, a 
few only being allowed off duty as opportunity offered 
to get their meals. 1 bring to the notice of Government 
that the strain on these men was very great, and that in 
consequence of the disturbance on the last day I had to 



APPENDIX 199 

retain them for three days and nights after their duty 
should in ordinary circumstances have ceased. 

7. Nothing of any importance happened on the first 
night, except a little scuffle at the Shia Imambara on Jail 
Road, when a Sunni toli was passing with music. The 
care-taker dashed out and abused the toli, which retorted 
by flinging a few stones at the Imambara and playing 
more loudly than before. This trouble was however 
allayed and no serious consequences ensued. On the 
2nd night (following the first day) nothing of importance 
occurred, and the same was the case up to the 5th 
January. On that day I personally interviewed the 
leaders of the Pathans, Sidis and Panjabis and asked 
them to warn their respective class-fellows against going 
out and joining any toli. This they promised to do. No 
Sidis or Panjabis came out : but on the last day when 
the trouble commenced, the Pathans and Peshawaris 
were out in considerable force, throwing stones at the 
tram-cars and the Police, in spite of the fact that Samad 
Khan, one of the Pathan headmen, tried his best to hold 
his branch in check. 

On the same day (5th January) I received a report 
from the D division that, according to rumour, the only 
Mohollas that intended to go out with their tabuts were 
Rangari, Kolsa and Chuna Batti Mohollas, and that if 
they actually did go out there would be trouble in 
Nagpada. Other rumours of an equally disquieting 
nature were abroad, which obliged the C. I. D. and 
Inspector Khan Bahadur Shaikh Ibrahim to redouble 
their efforts to smooth away spurious grievances and 
bring -about a feeling of tranquillity. Nevertheless we 
hoped for the best and watched the panjas and the pethis 
come out on the 5th night (6th January) and pass down 
Grant Road, without making any serious attempt to break 
away down Doctor Street. 

8. On the 7th night of Moharram (Sunday the 8th 
January) the Rangari Moholla toli and the Halai Memon 
Moholla toli turned out in force at a very late hour. In 
spite of the Police order that they should be back in their 
Mohollas by 2 a. m., it was 4 a. m. before they reached 
home and it was 4-30 a. m. before the Deputy Com- 
missioners and I were able to leave the City. Before they 
started a reminder was sent to them about the carrying 
of " lathis " and bludgeons, and, so far as I can gather, 
out of the two to three thousand persons composing each 



200 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE 

tolij a considerable number were unarmed when they left 
their MohoUas. They wandered out of the B division into 
the C division, and thence gradually up Khoja Street to 
Grant Road. When they arrived at Sulliman Chowkey, 
Superintendent Priestley, who had been with them on 
their peregrinations for 2 hours and 20 minutes, reported 
that they had collected sticks on the route and had even 
torn down and armed themselves with the poles which 
support the awnings over the shops. As they passed me 
they appeared to be in a condition of considerable exalt- 
ation, and I was able to note the scum of which the tolis 
were composed. There is no question of religion or 
religious fervour here. The tolis are irreligious rascality, 
let loose for five days and nights to play intolerable 
mischief in the streets and terrorize the peaceful house- 
holder. 

On their way out from their Moholla the Rangari 
toll took a new route. Instead of coming direct up Abdul 
Rehman Street, as it always has done, it turned off into 
the Koka Bazaar, where many Bohras live and where 
there is a Bohra mosque, and there it drummed and played 
and hurled obscene abuse at the Bohras in the same way 
as it has done in Doctor Street. In fact, it passed the word 
round that though Doctor Street had been closed by the 
Police, it had found a new Doctor Street and had 
checkmated the Commissioner. 

9. The action of these two tolis produced the inevit- 
able result. Some of the others, who were hesitating 
about coming out, got their blood up and turned out in 
great force on the following night ( Monday the Qth ). 
They were Kolsa Moholla, Kasai Moholla (the beef- 
butchers ), the Bapty Road Chillichors or hack victoria 
drivers, and Teli Gali. These tolis also were fully armed. 
We held a consultation as to whether it was advisable to 
rush in and disarm the crowds; but in view of the 
enormous size of the toliSy and the fact that most of our 
police were locked up in the cordoned area, and further 
that any show of force would have inevitably led to a 
disturbance of a serious character, I let the question of 
sticks slide and confined the police to urging the tolis 
home as quickly as possible. From the 6th night we 
had to exercise the greatest caution in order not to 
precipitate a conflict, and in doing so we were obliged 
to wink at certain things which with a stronger 
police force we might have forcibly put down. We 



APPENDIX 201 

kept Doctor Street and the other streets hermetically 
closed from the beginning to the end, but this was only- 
achieved by denuding our main posts and a considerable 
portion of the city of both European and Native police. 

Two points deserve notice in connection with the 
toll procession of the 9th January. First, Kasai Moholla 
on its way home turned into Koka Bazaar, assaulted one 
or two Bohras, and looted a few shops. On hearing this I 
drew off my armed police guard at Paidhuni and placed 
it in Koka Bazaar, and also plac ;d 5 armed native police 
at each end. Secondly, Teli Moholla took the ominous 
step of coming out a short distance and then going back 
to its quarters. This is invariably a dangerous sign; and 
there is little doubt that Teli Moholla did this as a signal 
to the Konkani MohoUas, Bengalpura, and the Mohollas 
of the E divisiwi that the Moharram was to be wrecked, 
partly as a protest against the closing of Doctor Street 
and partly out of enmity to Rangari Moholla. Once more 
the C. I. D. and Khan Bahadur Shaikh Ibrahim did their 
best to smooth away difficulties, and once more we looked 
forward with slightly diminished hopes to the next day 
(loth January). When one left for home at 5 a. m. on the 
lOth January, one could not help feeling that the odds 
were slightly against our getting through the festival 
without trouble, but I still hoped that if Rangari, Kolsa 
andChuna Batti Mohollas came out properly on the loth 
night or Katal-ki-rat, the others would lift their tabuts on 
the last day, and all would be well. 

lO. On the 9th night (loth January) we exerted all 
our influence to keep the various Mohollas in a good 
temper. Mr. Vincent went with his most trusted C. I. D. 
officers to the E division Mohollas, spoke with the crowd, 
listened to their JVaaz or nightly discourse, subscribed 
to their funds and finally left them apparently happy and 
determined to carry out their tabuts properly. Meanwhile 
Mr. Gadney and I visited the B division tabuts, talked 
with the tabutwallas, and endeavoured to allay the tension, 
which was obviously spreading through the Musalman 
quarter. At the four chief Mohollas we visited we were 
received in friendly style; but I was made to understand 
secretly that none of them would lift their tabuts unless 
Rangari Moholla gave the lead, and that the Konkani 
Mohollas were absolutely obdurate and hostile. 

The latter fact was sufficiently proved by the non- 
appearance of the Bara Imam Sandal procession, which 

26 



202 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE 

usually starts fromKhoja Street on the 9th night. It serves 
as the barometer of the Moharram and its non-appearance 
in the streets usually indicates storm. Every form of 
persuasion was used to make the licensee start out, as soon 
as the news of his recalcitrance reached me. But to no avail. 
Whether the licensee was a member of the cabal bent 
upon creating disturbance or whether he was, as he stated, 
afraid to move out, I cannot exactly say. But it is tolerably 
certain that the recalcitrant faction, including Bengalpura 
and Teli Gali, sent him a secret message that if he dared 
to leave Khoja Street, he and his processionists would 
be mobbed and hurt. 

In spite of this we persuaded Chuna Batti Moholla 
to issue, and they were followed by old and new 
Bengalpura who were playing a double game, and by 
Kasar Gali and Wadi Bandar, whom Mr. Vincent had 
screwed up to the starting-point by his diplomatic visit. 
Nothing of note occurred during this procession of 
several thousand persons, except that they started late 
and kept us in the streets till 4-45 a. m. 

II. Thus we reached the lOth night or Katal-ki-rat, 
which precedes the last or Immersion Day (January I2th)« 
On the night of the Ilth January I reached Paidhuni at 
10 p.m. and there met Rao Bahadur Chunilal Setalvad, 
who had heard conflicting rumours and had offered his 
services to me in case I required them. We determined 
to wait there until the processions of the B division 
began to move out round the City, which should have 
happened about II-45 p. m. By midnight the streets were 
crowded, but there was no sign of a procession. At 12-30 
a. m. I received information that Latiff and Rangari 
Moholla had started out. In order to make quite certain 
I went down Abdul Rehman Street to find out where they 
were and give them a lead forward. I could not find them 
for some time, but finally caught sight of their torches 
moving down the south end of Koka Bazaar towards 
Carnac Road, in other words in the opposite direction to 
which they ought to have been moving. The next thing 
I heard was that they had turned back, placed their tabut 
down in its mdndwa and declined to go any further. 
Knowing that this in itself spelt trouble, and having been 
told that unless Rangari Moholla lifted its tabut none 
of the others would, I sent the divisional police to fetch 
Latiff, and told him that if he did not take out his tabut 
in procession along the proper route I would leave no 



APPENDIX 203 

stone unturned to punish him. Latiff was genuinely afraid 
and promised to start out again. So at length, about I-45 
a.m., the Rangari Moholla tabut moved up Abdul Rehman 
Street towards Paidhuni, with drums, band, torches, and 
a bullock cart containing oil and wood to replenish the 
torches. On arrival at Paidhuni, Latiff implored police 
protection for his procession, in view of the anger of Tell 
Gali, Bengalpura and the Konkani Mohollas. I therefore 
sent 4 sowars, several foot police and 4 European officers 
with the procession, while Mr. Vincent and some C. I. D. 
men undertook to walk ahead and see them safely into 
the C division limits. 

Having thus started Rangari Moholla, I went down 
to Kolsa Moholla, Chuna Batti and Halai Moholla to get 
them to start out. Kolsa Moholla had already set forth 
once, but had retreated on hearing that Rangari Moholla 
had also done so. After immense delay, caused by these 
Mohollas making excuses that they had no coolies to 
carry the tabuts and that their bandsmen had run away, 
we managed to get all three into one long line containing 
several thousand persons and brought them out to the 
junction of Memonwada Road and Bhendy Bazaar. It was 
now about 3-30 a.m. At the moment that the front ranks 
turned the corner I looked up Bhendy Bazaar and saw 
in the far distance the lights and flares of Rangari 
Moholla returning. Knowing the hereditary animosity 
between Kolsa and Rangari Mohollas, and believing 
that if they met face to face in Bhendy Bazaar 
there would be a free fight, I managed with the help of 
Khan Bahadur Shaikh Ibrahim and the B division police 
to push the whole procession into Goghari Moholla, on 
its way up to the Nail Bazaar and Khoja Street, before 
Rangari Moholla had had time to get as far south. I 
sent two European police officers and some native police 
with the procession to see it safely through the C and 
E divisions. 

Meanwhile I had received information from Mr. 
Gadney, who was at Sulliman Chowkey, that a very 
ugly-looking crowd was following behind the Rangari 
Moholla toli ; and having got rid of the three other 
Mohollas, I determined to await the arrival of Rangari 
Moholla at Paidhuni and see what happened. About 
3-45 a.m. it reached me in very sorry plight. It appears 
that having seen the tabut and toli safely into the C 
division, Mr. Vincent walked by a side street to Nail 



204 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE 

Bazaar and escorted it thence to Sulliman Chowkey. By 

that time the toll was being followed by an obviously 

hostile crowd, whistling and shouting **Huriya, Huriya", 

the usual signal for disorder. Four more European 

officers from Sulliman Chowkey and the Doctor Street 

guard were therefore sent with the procession, while 

Mr. Vincent and a few C. I. D. officers walked behind 

the procession and between it and the crowd. Thus 

they left Sulliman Chowkey. After rounding the J. J. 

Hospital corner into Bhendy Bazaar the trouble began. 

The crowd, which was strengthened every minute by 

swarms of malcontents from the side galis, practically 

mobbed the police and the tabut procession all the way 

down Bhendy Bazaar. They shouted, whistled and used 

the filthiest language : they stoned the police and 

Rangari Moholla unceasingly ; they beat the sowars and 

their horses with lathis, bringing one down ; they carried 

on a hand-to-hand conflict as far as Paidhuni. The 

torch-bearers of Rangari Moholla put down their lights 

andfled, and the mob threw the lighted wood at the police. 

The tabut was within an ace of being abandoned when 

the Police seized the bearers and forced them to carry it 

on. Latifif was quivering with fear. Several times the 

European police begged Mr. Vincent to give orders to 

fire on the mob, which it was increasingly difficult to 

ward off, and each time Mr. Vincent refused, telling 

them to use their batons only and force the tabut and 

procession into the safer lanes of the B division. So 

they gradually arrived, fighting with the mob the whole 

way and being continuously stoned. A European officer 

and 2 native constables had to be sent to hospital to 

get their wounds dressed. At one point of the route a 

Pathan ranged himself on the side of the police and did 

remarkable execution on the mob with a lathi. 

12. On hearing from Mr. Vincent at Paidhuni what 
had happened, and seeing that the crowd was increasing 
round the police station, I decided {a) to call for 
military assistance in picketing the streets and (h) to 
have a baton-charge on the mob. By this time it was 
quite obvious that the mob was composed of the worst 
elements in the recalcitrant Konkani Mohollas, Bengal- 
pura and Teli Gali, aided, I believe, by the Kasai Moholla 
and Babu Hajam Moholla hadmashes, who had definitely 
declined to lift their tabut. Since the 6th night I had, 
with the approval and assistance of General Swann, 



APPENDIX 205 

quartered 2 companies of the Warwickshire Fegiment 
in the Head Police office as a precautionary measure. 
For eighty of these I at once telephoned and they arrived 
within 7 minutes. I ordered them to be stationed at 
Paidhuni, Koka Bazaar, Nawab's Masjid, the junction of 
Erskirie and Sandhurst roads, the J. J. Hospital corner, 
the iNall Bazaar and Doctor Street. 

Having telephoned for the troops, I ordered the 
police to charge and disperse the mob. This they did 
with very good will and considerable success, though it 
was very difficult in the darkness to see what damage 
was done. Anyhow the mob dashed up the darker lanes 
and streets leading off Bhendy Bazaar and Paidhuni, and 
before they could collect again in force the troops had 
arrived. The sight of these put a check upon the mob's 
intentions and they gradually melted away for the time 
being. 

Meanwhile, fearing that Kolsa Moholla, Chuna Batti 
and Halai Moholla would be subjected to a similar 
attack, I sent police to call them back at once to their 
Mohollas from the C division. The police discovered 
Kolsa Moholla and Halai Moholla and turned them back, 
but Chuna Batti had gone far ahead and was lost for the 
time being in the north of the C division. By the time, 
however, that it reached the Bhendy Bazaar I had posted 
the troops and the procession had therefore a compara- 
tively quiet passage back to its Moholla. 

I append a copy of Mr. Vincent's report to me on 
the disturbance in the early hours of Thursday morning. 

13. In view of the rather serious situation created 
by the above circumstances I decided to leave the city 
for rest for 3 hours only. Mr. Vincent and I left at 6 a. m. 
and returned at 9 a. m., while Mr. Gadney stayed on till 
9 a. m. and then went off on relief till 12 noon ( on 
Thursday the I2th January ). I also warned Rangari 
Moholla, Kolsa Moholla, Chuna Batti and Halai Moholla 
that if they wished to immerse their tabuts in the after- 
noon at Carnac Bandar, they must go straight down from 
their Mohollas to Carnac Road and not attempt to move 
up to and north of Paidhuni. They, however, refused to 
lift their tabuts or go out at all. 

14. By I p. m. on Thursday it was fairly obvious 
that we were in for trouble. Huge crowds paraded the 
streets, and about 2 p. m. I received news that there was 
a certain amount of spasmodic stone-throwing at 



206 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE 

Paidhuni. I had definite information that not a single 
Moholla would lift its tabut. Believing that there was 
likely to be trouble in the neighbourhood of Doctor 
Street, I remained on duty at SuUiman Chowkey, where 
I was joined by General Swann and Major Capper. 
About 4-40 p. m., as no further news had come from 
Paidhuni, I decided to go and lie down for a short time, 
as I had had only 4 hours' sleep on the morning of the llth 
and none since. I went down Doctor Street to see that 
all was well and inspected the position there, and was 
making my way outside the Musalman quarter, when I 
was overtaken by the Commandant, Mounted Police, 
who told me that a message had just been received at 
Sulliman Chowkey to the efifect that the situation at 
Paidhuni was very serious. I therefore rode straight 
back to Paidhuni. 

On arrival there I found the road littered with new 
road-metal which was being flung at the police and the 
tram-cars and the military pickets by two large mobs 
situated, the one in Bhendy Bazaar and the other 
in Memonwada which debouches on Paidhuni. It was 
reported to me that about 4 p. m. the mob began to be 
very troublesome and the Paidhuni police went out with 
some mounted police to move them, but were forced to 
retire. At 4-15 the police again made a sally on the 
mob, but were stoned back again to Paidhuni. At about 
4-30 p. m. the tram-traffic between the J. J. Hospital 
and Paidhuni came to a standstill. A European in a 
motor-car was stoned. The police then rushed out again 
and the mob retreated a little distance up Banian Row 
and Paidhuni Road and stoned them from there. Mean- 
while a gang of Mahomedans at the junction of Chuna 
Batti was stoning carriages and trams. A tram-car in 
which a lady was seated was stopped by another gang 
and stones were thrown at the lady, who was hit on the 
left cheek. Then a number of Musalman youths got 
hold of the lady's skirts, and as far as Sub-Inspector 
Butterfield ( who was coming up to her rescue ) could 
see, tried to pull the lady out of the car. Sub-Inspector 
Butterfield and 3 privates of the Warwicks with 6 
constables then appeared on the spot. They were met 
by a shower of road-metal, but forced the mob some 20 
or 25 paces up Chuna Batti, whence they were continu- 
ously stoned. Each time that they retired the crowd 
pressed forward again. At about 5 p. m. their retreat 



APPENDIX 207 

was cut off by another mob, which commenced throwing 
stones from the opposite side in Banian Cross Road and 
Pinjrapur Road. At 5- 10 Sub-Inspector Butterfield saw 
the military officer at Paidhuni signal to him and the 
soldiers to get away from the danger zone, and as their 
retreat was cut off and they were unable to fight their 
way through, they ensconced themselves behind a 
municipal urinal at the junction of Chuna Batti and held 
the crowd off until firing commenced. While in this 
position they were continuously stoned both from the 
street and from the houses. Among those injured by 
the stoning of the trams was a Hindu solicitor, whose 
companion reports that there was a group of Pathans 
with stones at Nawab's Masjid, and that the car in which 
he and his friend were sitting was stoned by bodies of 
rioters on both sides of Bhendy Bazaar from Nawab's 
Masjid to Paidhuni. Mr. Paton of Messrs. W. and A. 
Graham and Company, who had come down with his wife 
to see the tabut procession and occupied an upper room 
in a house at the corner of Memonwada and Bhendy 
Bazaar, reports that he had to close the windows of the 
room in the side and rear against stones that were flung 
from the street. In referring to a group of Pathans who 
halted under the verandah of the house he writes : — 

" In my twenty years' experience of this country 
I never before witnessed behaviour which so 
impressed me with a sense of sinister intentions. " 
Such was the position when I arrived about 5 p. m. 
The first thing I did was to ride forward a little way 
and have a look at both crowds. This produced a volley 
of road-metal. In the Memonwada crowd I observed 
3 Pathans throwing stones and urging on the rest, and 
that established my conviction that the Pathans were on 
the war-path. My experience of previous disturbances 
shows that the Pathans at the very first sign of trouble 
begin to collect in small gangs at various points, and if 
the crowd once gets out of hand, they turn out in force 
and begin setting fire to shops and looting. This is 
unquestionably what they were preparing to do when I 
saw them. 

I then looked at the Bhendy Bazaar mob, which 
completely covered the street as far as the eye could 
reach. In the front of it I noticed several boys throwing 
stones. I had already made up my mind that firing 
would have to be resorted to, as we had exhausted all 



208 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE 

attempts at pacific methods by Thursday morning at 3 
a. m., and as also there was every possibility of the mob 
rising at Nail Bazaar, Two Tanks and SuUimanChowkey, 
if the Bhendy Bazaar mob was not given a proper lesson. 
But I wanted to get rid of the boys first. Therefore 
about 5-10 p. m. I called the officer ( Lieutenant Davies ) 
in charge of the military picket and asked him to line 
up his men across both roads and place them in position 
to fire, but not to fire until they received the order to do 
so. I hoped that the appearance of the soldiers would 
( a ) frighten the boys in the Bhendy Bazaar mob away 
and ( b ) induce the mob to cease throwing stones and 
disperse. As regards (a) the movement had the desired 
effect and the small boys bolted ; as regards (b) the mob 
retreated for a minute and then came forward again 
within 30 or 40 yards* distance of the soldiers and 
recommenced stoning them. 1 was standing immediately 
behind the soldiers and saw them dodging the metal, 
while a stone hit Lieutenant Davies, near whom I was 
standing. At about 5-17 p. m. Rao Bahadur Setalvad, 
4th Presidency Magistrate, for whom I had telephoned 
at 5-10 p. m., arrived on the scene and I pointed out 
the general position to him and told him that I thought 
we should have to fire. He saw both mobs, he saw the 
troops being stoned, and he saw the condition of the road. 
At roughly 5-20 p. m. he gave the order to fire. 

The troops fired 72 rounds and put an end to the 
disturbance. As a result of the firing, 14 persons were 
killed, 6 persons were injured and subsequently died in 
the hospital, and 2/ were injured, of whom 6 were treated 
and discharged immediately. Of the dead, 7 were Hindus 
who were mixed up in the mob and the rest were 
Mahomedans ; and of the 27 injured, 19 were Mahomedans, 
7 were Hindus and one was a Christian. 

15. I greatly regret that we had to resort to extreme 
measures : but considering that the mob had been out at 
3 a.m. and had had to be repulsed by the police, that the 
temper of the badmash element had been getting steadily 
worse, and that the mob collected again in the afternoon 
in spite of the presence of the troops; considering also 
that stone-throwing had been going on for fully an hour 
before I arrived at Paidhuni, that all traffic was stopped, 
that the police at Paidhuni had three times tried to clear 
the mob, that the Pathans were bent on mischief, and that 
I was very apprehensive of trouble in other parts of the 



APPENDIX 209 

city if the disorder at Bhendy Bazaar was not put down 
very sharply, I am of opinion that by resorting to firing 
on the two mobs at Paidhuni we probably saved firing 
in other parts of the Musalman -quarter and therefore 
greater loss of life. Government are aware how rapidly 
the spirit of tumult spreads, particularly among a 
populace like that of the Moharram celebrants, who 
belong to the lowest classes and actually regard the 
Mohorram, not as an opportunity foe religious emotion 
but as the one chance vouchsafed them during the year 
of letting loose the forces of rascality and disorder and 
attacking the police and the public in more or less 
organised gangs. The information which I received 
from the Katal-ki-rat onwards showed that there was a 
definite intention to create disorder, and the fact that 
new road-metal had been collected in the lanes leading 
off Bhendy Bazaar clearly shows that an outbreak was 
contemplated. I believe firmly that, had we not taken 
extreme measures at Paidhuni, we should have had to 
face rioting throughout the whole area bounded by Two 
Tanks, Falkland Road and Bhendy Bazaar. 

l6. I also regret greatly the presence of Hindus 
amongst the killed and wounded. It is impossible on 
such occasions to protect the innocent ; but considering 
that the crowd had collected and been throwing stones 
for fully an hour before firing took place and that the 
divisional police had warned them to disperse, it is a 
matter of great regret that the Hindus, if they were 
innocent, did not disappear. I do not think the firing 
of the troops was in any way haphazard or open to 
censure, for had it been so, they must have killed an old 
beggar woman who was sitting on the pavement of 
Bhendy Bazaar with rioters on both sides of her. On 
either side of her a man was shot, but she was left 
untouched, and was subsequently led into Paidhuni by 
the police. 

On the other hand it is an undeniable fact that 
Hindus, and particularly the sectional bad characters 
amongst them, take a prominent part in the Moharram 
tolis and mob. Mr. Paton, who was an eye-witness of 
the whole outbreak, writes ;— 

'* Under our eyes, and we were between the mob and 

troops all the while, the troops and police were 

murderously stoned, happily without any serious mishap, 

for close upon three-quarters of an hour. No law-abiding 

27 



210 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE 

citizen had therefore any right to have been in either of 
the mobs and most certainly not at the late moment when 
the firing took place. If any were there at the outset of 
the stone-throwing he had most ample time and warning 
in which to get away, and if any stayed out of curiosity 
he had only himself to blame if he suffered along with 
the hadmashes with whom he chose to herd." 

17. Just after the firing ceased and both mobs had 
disappeared, General Swann arrived at Paidhuni; and at 
his suggestion I called up from the Head Police Office 
the balance of the Warwickshire Regiment, and from 
Marine Lines 4 companies of the 96th Berar Infantry. 
These were posted at once throughout the disturbed area. 
The measures taken at Paidhuni, however, had such an 
effect that by 10 p. m. I was able to draw off some of 
the military from each picket. By 12 midnight on 
Thursday I was able to send all British troops back to 
barracks, and by 12 midnight on Sunday the 15th 
January I was able to send back all the native infantry 
and reduce the police guard. This was partly due to 
the action of the police on Friday and Saturday in 
arresting a large number of persons who were identified as 
having played a prominent part in the disturbances of 
Thursday morning and Thursday afternoon. All those 
persons against whom definite evidence is forthcoming 
are being placed before the magistracy. By Friday 
morning all was outwardly quiet and the City had 
resumed its normal aspect. Since then there has been 
nothing to record beyond the fact that the bad characters 
of a particular type, who signalize their mode of life by 
wearing their hair long in front and curled, have had their 
locks cropped by the barber for fear of being arrested 
by the police as participants in the toll disturbances. 

18. There are certain points in this sorry business 
of the Moharram of 1911, which give some cause for 
satisfaction :— 

First. — The police carried out their orders regarding 
Doctor Street to the very letter and kept it hermetically 
closed from the first to the last day. 

Secondly. — The self-restraint shewn by Mr. Vincent, 
the European officers, the 4 sowars and the native foot 
police, who accompanied the Rangari Moholla tabut from 
the J. J. Hospital to Paidhuni in the early hours of the 
I2th under a continuous attack with stones, lighted wood 
and lathis, is worthy of commendation. 



APPENDIX 211 

Thirdly, — The material support which was received 
from General Swann and his staff went far towards 
recompensing the Police Commissioner for the anxiety 
of a ten days' struggle to checkmate the forces of 
disorder. General Swann himself spent the 6th night 
with me at SuUiman Chowkey up to 4 a. m., with the sole 
object of shewing the public that he and I were working 
together. And many must have recognized him and 
drawn their own conclusions. General Swann was also 
present at Sulliman Chowkey on the last day and also at 
Paidhuni. I cannot sufficiently express my thanks for 
his help, and for the ready assistance afforded by Lieut- 
Colonel H. R. Vaughan and his regiment, and subse- 
quently by Colonel Powys Lane and the 96th Berar 
Infantry. 

Fourthly, — I must express my thanks to Inspector 
Khan Bahadur Shaikh Ibrahim and the Mahomedan 
officers of the Criminal Investigation Department for their 
continuous efforts throughout a period of nearly three 
weeks to smooth away all difficulties and keep the 
MohoUas in a good temper. That their efforts ultimately 
proved fruitless was no fault of theirs, but was due to cir- 
cumstances beyond their control. I have a lively sense of 
their unremitting efforts to ensure a peaceful Moharram. 

Fifthly, — Mr. Ardeshir Umrigar deserves special 
mention in that for a period of a week he supplied free 
of all cost at Paidhuni, Sulliman Chowkey and Nail 
Bazaar mineral waters, tea, coffee, sandwiches and light 
refreshments for the use of the European police officers 
who were on continuous duty at and near those points 
both by day and night. For the native constables who 
were in the streets for ten days and nights and who had 
no time to go to their homes, I provided 2 annas per diem 
apiece to enable them to buy a meal and tea. A portion, 
if not the whole of the sum thus involved, has been 
offered to me by Rao Bahadur Keshavji N. Sailor, so 
that possibly I may not have to ask Government to 
sanction this extra but necessary expenditure. 

Sixthly. — Credit is due to Badlu and the Madanpura 
Julhais for accepting the position, keeping their promise 
to me, and performing their Moharram and tabut 
immersion in the regular way without giving the smallest 
trouble to the police. 

Seventhly,— GvQdiX credit is due to the divisional 
police of all ranks for the manner in which they per- 



212 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE 

formed a vigil of ten days and nights and for the self- 
restraint which they shewed in dealing with the mob. 

19. In conclusion, I must raise the question as to 
what should be our policy for the future in regard to the 
Moharram. As matters are at present, there is no vestige 
of religion or religious fervour in the ^(^//-processions and 
the tabut-processions. On the contrary the Moharram 
has become, and is utilized as merely an excuse for 
rascality to burst its usual barriers and flow over the 
city in a current of excessive turbulence. For ten days 
every year the Hindu merchants are blackmailed and 
harassed until they pay a contribution to the cost of the 
processions; the police, who are not half numerous enough 
to guard the whole area involved, are kept in the streets 
for ten days and nights and ordinary police work simply 
disappears, as there is no ofl&cer at the police-stations 
to record complaints and no native police to take up an 
enquiry ; a large portion of the Shia population has to 
evacuate its houses and take refuge in Salsette for fear 
of insult and assault ; and in the end, if the police hold 
fast and insist upon rascality keeping within certain 
limits, the city has to face the distressing spectacle of 
open disorder and its complement of drastic repression. 

The only unobjectionable features of the ten days' 
celebration are the nightly Waaz or religious discourses 
by chosen preachers. But, unfortunately, these are little 
patronized by those to whom they would do most good, 
namely, the bad characters in the talis. 

Statement made by Mr, N. J. Paton, J, P., partner in the 
firm of Messrs, IV, & A. Graham & Co* 

On Thursday, I2th January, at 2 p. m., at the 
invitation of a Mahomedan friend I went with Mrs. Paton 
to the house at the junction of Parel Road and Kolsa 
MohoUa (otherwise Memonwada) with a view to 
witnessing the Moharram procession. 

The house, on the first floor where we were, has 
windows at the back and on the Kolsa Moholla side and 
a verandah on the Parel Road side, the latter affording 
a clear view down the Parel Road and of the open space 
in front of the Paidhuni Police Station. 

The crowd came and went without much incident 
until about 3, when two Mahomedans were brought up 
under arrest amid a good deal of apparently sympathetic 
shouting on the part of the on-lookers. 



APPENDIX 213 

After that the temper of the crowd seemed to 
change; but, although several carriages with European 
ladies drove past, they were suffered to do so without 
molestation. 

I was not myself then anxious, but my Mahomedan 
friend at about 4 o'clock warned me that the crowd was 
now anything but peaceably disposed. Shortly there- 
after I became apprehensive of coming trouble on noting 
the overt truculent bearing of the Pathans, of whom 
there were many, and notably of a group which halted 
for some time under our verandah. In my twenty years' 
experience of the country I never before witnessed 
behaviour which so impressed me with a sense of sinister 
intentions. 

At about 4-30 the police made a systematic attempt 
to clear the pavements and street in front of the Police 
Station down to opposite our verandah. 

This the crowd resented and there was considerable 
hooting. 

A few minutes later one stone was thrown from the 
crowd in Kolsa Moholla, and almost immediately stone- 
throwing of a very serious and dangerous kind 
commenced on both sides of us. 

We were obliged to close our windows at the back 
and Kolsa Moholla side ; but, although numerous stones 
fell on our house, none entered and no one was injured. 

From the verandah it was possible to see not only 
what was going on in Parel Road but also to note the 
fusillade of stones that came from Kolsa Moholla. 

The trams were still running in Parel Road ; and, 
as each passed the end of Goghari Moholla, it was met 
by murderous volleys of stones, which by pure luck 
alone failed to result in most serious consequences to 
the passengers. 

Occasionally the police endeavoured to keep the 
crowd at a distance by themselves throwing stones. 

In this way half an hour passed, when about 5 o'clock 
or thereabouts Mr. Edwardes arrived and took charge. 

Under his direction the detachment of the Warwicks, 
which had been standing under arms in the neighbour- 
hood all the afternoon, was drawn in line across Parel Road 
and Kolsa Moholla and knelt down in readiness to fire. 

The officer in charge waved his handkerchief in 
the hope that any law-abiding persons who might still 
be in the crowd would clear away. 



214 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE 

About 5-15 Mr. Setalwad and Mr. Vincent arrived; 
and, as the stone-throwing was then proceeding as 
vigorously as ever, Mr. Setalwad gave the order to fire, 
an order that was immediately carried out. After two 
or three volleys, occupying about a minute, " cease 
firing '* was ordered. 

The mob had by this time cleared off, leaving 
between thirty and forty dead and wounded. 

It is said some innocent Hindus have suffered. I 
hardly think this is possible. 

If the troops had fired hurriedly it might have been 
so, but they did not fire without the most ample 
warning. 

Under our eyes, and we were between the mob and 
the troops all the while, the troops and Police were 
murderously stoned, happily without any serious mishap, 
for close upon three-quarters of an hour. 

No law-abiding citizen had, therefore, any right to 
have been in either of the mobs and most certainly not 
at the late moment when the firing took place. If any 
were there at the outset of the stone-throwing he had 
most ample time and warning in which to get away, 
and if any stayed out of curiosity he had only himself 
to blame if he suffered along with the hadmashes with 
whom he chose to herd. 

It is impossible to under-estimate the seriousness 
of what might have occurred if the drastic lesson that 
was administered had been longer delayed, and it is 
puerile for those who were not present to presume to 
criticise it. 

The two mobs numbered many thousands of the 
most lawless and fanatical men in the city, and the 
manner in which the fusillade of stones was started and 
kept up indicates clearly that stones must have been 
purposely brought to the ground in readiness for the 
fight and in very considerable quantity. 

Viewing the situation as a whole, I consider 
that the mob without doubt was given more 
leniency than it had any right to expect, and that 
to have postponed the firing any longer, or to have 
restricted the firing to a single volley, must 
inevitably have seriously imperilled the safety of a large 
section of the city and would have involved much greater 
bloodshed than unhappily occurred, before order could 
have been restored. 



APPENDIX 215 

Those who were eye-witnesses like myself can hold 
but one opinion as to the judgment, restraint and patience 
with which, in circumstances of intolerable and protracted 
provocation, Mr. Edwardes dealt with a situation of 
extreme gravity and difficulty. 

Resolution. — The Governor-in-Council has given 
careful consideration to the reports of the disturbance 
which took place in the city of Bombay on I2th January, 
191 1 on the occasion of the Moharram festival. He is of 
opinion that the police acted throughout with great 
discretion and restraint and that the final appeal to 
military force was necessary for the public security. The 
loss of life which occurred is much to be regretted, but 
the military do not appear to have done more than was 
consistent with dispersing the mob. The Governor-in- 
Council desires to express his thanks to the military 
authorities for the prompt assistance rendered by them 
and to Mr. Edwardes, Commissioner of Police, and the 
force under his charge, for their great exertions 
throughout the whole period of the Moharram. 

2. It now remains to consider the measures to be 
taken for the future. Government have done all that lay 
within their power to enable the Moharram processions 
to be held with due regard to the safety of the law- 
abiding mass of the community, but without success. In 
1909 and 1910 there were no processions ; but this year, 
as in 1908, in spite of every precaution there were scenes 
of disorder and violence which had ultimately to be 
quelled by military force with considerable loss of life. 
Government cannot allow the recurrence of such 
disturbances, and it has become necessary to consider 
whether the procession of tabuts, with their attendant 
tolis, should not be prohibited next year. Before arriving 
at any final decision, however. Government trust that the 
Mahomedan community will, through their leaders or 
otherwise, endeavour to concert effective measures to 
secure that, while the religious character of the 
observance of the Moharram is retained, there may be a 
reasonable guarantee that it shall not again degenerate 
into lawlessness, discreditable to all concerned and 
gravely injurious to the interests of Bombay. The 
Governor-in-Council will be ready to give the most 
careful consideration to any such proposals, but it will 
be possible to adopt them only if they seem to provide a 
reasonable guarantee against any future disturbance of 
the peace. 



dl6 THE BOMBAY CITY POLICE 

3. In this connection the leaders of the Mahomedan 
community could do much to assist the cause of law and 
order by explaining to the people that the tabut 
processions and tolls are in no way necessary to the 
religious celebration of the Moharram. Government 
have received information that for many years Kazis in 
Sind have been issuing fatwds inveighing against the 
degradation of the mourning ceremony into processions 
of jesters and mountebanks, and that in the town of 
Sujawal the people have themselves put a stop to all 
tabut processions. 

By order of His Excellency the Honourable the Governor' 
in-Council, 

C. A. KINCAID, 
Secretary to Government. 



INDEX 



Acworth, H. A 102 

Adultery 66 

Aga Khan, H. H. the ... 63, 108-9 
American Civil War ... 50-54 

Andhiyara ( " Andaroo " ) 26, 28 

Ank Satta 84 

Anonymous Postcards case 171-2 
Anthropometry, BertiUon 

system of ... 95 

Antonio, Josd 34, 35 

Armed Police 9, 91 

Arms Act 61, 158-9 

Arms traffic, illicit 82 

Asna Ashariya Khojas... 108, 109 

Aston,A.H. S 193 

Aungier, Gerald ... 1, 2, 5 
Aurora Conspiracy 64 

B 

Back Bay Company ^. ... 51 

Balloon ascents 84 

Bandareens, see Bhandaria 

Bank, Credit 72 

Bank, Cosmopolitan ... 172, 173 

Bank, Specie 172 

Bank failures 172, 173 

Barrow, Major 49 

Barsat Tta Satta, see Gambling, 

rain 
Baynes, Capt. E. ... 35, 37 

Bazar Gate 41 

15, 114, 115, 131 
... 102, 104 

54 

. 1,2,8,4,7,9 
Bhandaris 2, 7 and «, 8, 9, 13, 30, 32 

Bhat 25,27 

28 



Bennett, Douglas 
Bhagoji Naik ... 
Bhandari Militia . 



Bhattia Conspiracy Case ... 43 

Bhendy Bazar ...32, 37, 47w, 69, 75, 

140, 176, 184, 185 and App. 

Bickersteth, J. P. 56 

Bombay Banking Company 172, 173 
Bombay Light Horse ... 101, 139 
Bombay Volunteer Artillery ... 101 
Brewin, Superintendent H. 73, 82, 
91, 96, 98 



Briscoe, Charles 
Brown, F. L. ... 
Bruce, Colonel ... 
Budgen, General 
Burrows, Captain 



23,23 
... 56 
55,66 
101 
... 36 



Calcutta mori, see Gambling, 

rain 
Cauzee, see Kazi 

Census (1864) 55 j (1901) 119; 

(1906) 122 

Chamber of Commerce ... 144 

Cheating cases 169, 170 

Chelmsford, arrival of Lord 176, 177 
Chhaganlal M. Tijoriwala 192, 193 

Child, John 2, 3 

Children, murder of ..« 65, 66, 107 

Chief of Mahim 19 

Chief Presidency Magistrate 57, 

58, 96«, 1.93 

Chilli'Ohors ... 101 and App, 

City Improvement Trust 113, 147, 

156, 174 

Clarke, Sir George (Lord Sydenham) 

144, 145, 165 

Cocaine ... 93, 166-68 

Colaba ... 28, 30, 36, 120 

Oommiflsion of the Peace ... 17 



2l8 



INDEX 



Commissioner of Police, 

appointment of ... 50«, 56, 57 
Committee, Morison 123, 146, 148-9 

Connon, John 56, 58 

Constabulary, European 17, 18, 26, 

86, 46, 47«, 48, 58, 74, 

75, 90, 125, 134 

„ Indian 17, 18, 26, 36, 

46, 48, 58, 74, 90 

„ „ good work 

of 137, 138, 174-76 

Contagious Diseases Act ... 61 
Conveyances, number of 94, 130 
Cooper, C. P. ... 56, 74, 83, 102 

Cordue, Colonel 142 

Corfield, A. K. ... .., 35, 37 

Cotton-fires ... 129, 130, 180-81 
Court of Petty Sessions 33, 34, 56, 57 
Crawford, W. ... 37, 42, 45 

Crawley Boevey, Mr. ... 70, 71 

Crime 4, 7, 9, 10, 14-16, 20, 21, 28- 
33, 36-7, 41, 51, 74, 89, 92, 
97, 103, 106-110, 127-8, 
16&-6, 169 
Criminal Investigation De- 
partment 109, 137, 146, 148-50, 
152-4, 160, 171, 178, 190 
Criminal Procedure Code 70, 92-3, 

117 
Crummy, Superintendent 96 and m, 

120 

Cuffe, Lieut 101 

Cursetji Suklaji Street 86, 87 
Curtis, Capt. W 35 



Dacoity 31, 107 

Daji Gangaji Subehdar ... 133 

Danvers, E. F 35 

Dastur, Pheroze H, ... 103, 123 

De Ga case 62, 63, 72 

Deputy-Superintendent 

(Mahim) 19,20 

Detective Police 62, 71-73, 81, 89, 
92, 146 



de Vitrd, J. D. ... so, 86 

Dinanath N. Dandekar ... 144 

Dockyard police 55, 59, 126, 150, 
152, 168 
Doctor Street 138, 168, 182, 184 
" Dongri and the Woods " 7, 17, 
18,19 

Dosabhai F. Karaka 56 

Dunlop, Mr. 43, 44« 

Dwarkadas Dharamsey 173, 174 

£ 

Edginton, Mr. 48, 62, 73 

Edwardes, S. M. 123, 129, 137, 
148-194 and App. 

Ekv-leU 83 

Elphinstone, Lord 37, 40, 44, 45, 
46, 47, 49, 50, 53 

Elphinstone Circle 44 

Embezzlement case 170 

Enthoven, R. E. 119 

Erskine, W.... 28 

European ofltendera 42, 64, 65, QQ^ 67 
Ewart, Latham & Co., fraud on 169 
Explosives 158, 159 

F 

False complaints ... 108, 170 

False evidence 64, 72 

Famine, effects of 107, 108, 127 

Farrant, G. L 35 

Fazendarg 7^ 9 

Finger-Print Bureau 95, 96, 131, 

132, 161, 162 

Fire-brigade ... 44, 56, 71, 73 

Fisher, James ... 19 

Foreigners Act... 85, 86, 88, 115 
Forgery ... 64, 82, 128, 129 

Forjett, Charles 37, 38 and «, 39-53, 
72, 73, 96, 118 
Forjett, F. H. ( Colonel ) 52 and «, 

101 

Forjett Street 53 

Framji Bhikaji, Inspector ... 73 

Fraser, Lovat G. 119 

Frere, Sir Bartle ... 44, 55 



INDEX 



219 



G 

Gambling Act 83, 114 

Gambling, rain ... 82, 83 

„ ordinary 83, 84, 113, 114 

Ganga Prasad 49 

Ganpati celebrations 90, 104-106, 

154 

Gayer, Sir John 4 

Cell, H. G. 73, 79, 120-147, 149, 162 

Gentu 8 (Hindus) 2 

Giles, Chief Inspector M. J. ... 159 

Golcmda, S. S. 191 

Goodwin, Eichard ... .. 28 

Grant, G 35 

Grant, Sir J. P. ... 28, 29 

Grant Koad 41, 86, 100, 102, 103, 

140, 155, 176, 182, 185 

Gray, H 35 

Grennan, Superintendent 96, 134 

Griffith, F.C 150 

Guralhi 110 



Haj Committee ..« ... 136 

Haj Traffic 61, 62, 89, 98, 110, 

134-6, 150, 161 
Halliday, Simon 17, 19, 22, 23 

Harbour police, 26, 27, 36, 44, 55, 
59, 91, 126, 150, 168, 189 

Harker, O.A 150 

Henry, Sir E 95, 149 

Hewitt, B. H 130 

High Constable 13, 17, 20, 26, 34 

HiU-Trevor, A. 142 

Holloway, Thomas ... 28», 34 
Humfrey, Major 79 



Ingram, Superintendent ... ^& 
Intemperance 32, 64, 65, 89, 93 

J 

Jacob's Circle 142, 143, 144 

Jagannath Sbankarshet 45, 46 

Julhai0 101, 103, 182 and App^ 



Justices of the Peace 5, 6, 10, 11, 


14, 17, 20, 21, 22, 25, 26 




32,34,44 


K 




Kabraji, K. N. ... 


•.. ... 4X 


Kazi 


25, 27 


„ of Bombay 


47, 48 


Kazi Kabiruddin 


158 


Keigwin, Richard 


3 


Kennedy, H. ... 


107-19, 127 


Kennedy, M. ... 


120 


Kbairaz, G. R. ... 


193 


Kidnapping ... 


115, 116, 117 


Kirtikar, Mr. ... 


132 



Koregaonkar, K. R. 



.. 189 



Lakdi Satta, see Gambling, rain 

Lambert, R.P 120 

Lamington, Lord 137 

Law and Justice (1700) 5, 6 

„ (1800) 29,30 

LeGeyt, P.W 35 

Leslie, A 142 

" Lieutenant of Police " 10, 12, 13 

M 

Macdonald, James 142 

Mackintosh, Sir J. 15, 22, 23, 25, 33 

Magistrates of Police 23, 24, 25, 26, 

28, 33, 37, 44, 56, 57 

Mansfield, Lieut 84 

Manslaughter • 43 

Mayor's Court 5 

McDermott, Superintendent 96, 134 
Memorial Fund, S. M. E. ... 158 

Messent, P 142 

Mills, Superintendent ... 63 

Mir Abdul Ali, Sirdar 63, 64, 72, 

82, 92, 96, 119, 129 and n 

MirAkbarAli ... 62,63,72 

Moors 2 

Morison, Sir W 12S 

Morley, James 19 



220 



INDEX 



Morris, Inspector 172 

Motor-vehicles ... 130, 160 

Mounted Police 46, 90, 91, 112, 136, 

176 
Moharram 36, 37, 46-8, 67-8, 72, 
105, 181.84, 186-7, 191 and App. 
(See also " Kiots, Mobarram ") 

Mukadams 24 

Municipal Commissioner 44, 51, 56, 

102, 193 

Municipal Corporation 56, 59, 77, 

126, 174 

Murder, Khoja Street 62 

,, Eoonan's 63 

„ Khoja (1) 63 (2) 108-9 
„ Pakmodie Street... 63, 64 

„ Dadar triple 81 

„ Clerk Eoad 81 

„ Khambekar Street ... 81 
„ Eajabai Tower 81, 82 

„ Walke?hwar (1) 91 (2)166 

„ Duarte's 92 

„ BaptyRoad 175 

„ Regimental ... 191-2 

MusafirMana 62, 135 

Mutiny days ... 39, 46-50, 64 



N 



NaU Bazaar 167 

Nanabhai Dinshaw 128 

Narayan T. Vaidya 144 

Nasik murder trial 176 

Nolan, Superintendent 96, 134 
Northcote, Lord 137 



Oliveira, Mr 193 

OHver, N.W 37 

Opium-dens 93 

Oriental spinning and weaving 
mill 71 

Orphanage, AbduUa H. D, 
Bavla — ... 163-5 



Pagi 31 and m. 

Parsi hooligans 41 

Pawnbrokers 21 

Petit, Sir Dinshaw ... 43, 77 

Petit, John ... 2 

Petroleum Act 158, 159 

Phillips, R. M. ... 120, 150 

Pilaji Ramji's naka ... 18 and n. 
Pilgrim Brokers ... 62, 135 

Pilgrim Department 62, 89, 98, 135, 

137 

Pillory 29, 30 

Pimps, foreign 85, 86, 87, 88, 116, 

131 

Piracy 28,43 

Plague ... 97, 98, 107, 122, 127 

„ effect on police of 90, 97, 

98, 99, 106 

Poisoning ... 42, 91, 92, 108 

Poisons Act 158, 159 

Police, corruption among 16, 23, 33, 

36, 37, 40, 41 

„ health of 60, 74, 79, 80, 89, 

98,99 

„ Hteracy of 60, 73, 133, 134, 

157, 158 

„ pay of 13, 14, 60, 124, 

125, 126 

Police buildings and housing 74, 

75, 76, 80, 112, 113, 132, 136, 

155, 156, 157 

Police Charges Act 111, 126, 127 

Police Commission 91, 122, 123 

Police Court, Esplanade 75, 80, 132 

Police „ Mazagon 80, 132 

Police Divisions 7, 9, 17, 18, 

111, 153 

PoUce force, cost of, (1812) 26, 
27, (1885) 59, (1888) 60, 79, 
(1892) 79, (1893) 90, (1894) 
91, (1900) 110, (1902) 122, 
(1908) 126, (1911) 152, (1913) 
162, (1916) 162. 



INDEX 



221 



Police force, strength of (1793) 18, 
(1812) 26, 27 (1865) 55, 56, 
(1871) 58, (1879) 58, (1881) 58, 
(1885) 58-60 (1888) 60, 79, 
(1892) 79, (1893) 90, (1894) 
90, 91, (1900) 110, (1902) 122, 
(1909) 152, (1911) 152, (1913) 
152, (1915) 162 

Police Gazette 154-5 

Police Hospital 137 

Police Office (Fort) 33; (BycuUa) 

75, 80 ; ( Hornby Road) 75, 80, 

112, 137, 162, 188, 190 

Police precautions (Koyal Visit) 

177-80 

Police Eegulations and Acts 6, 7, 11, 

12, 22, 25, 37, 45, 71, 88, 96, 127 

Police reorganization 7, 8, 9, 10, 16, 

17, 18, 19, 23, 25, 26, 31, 38, 54-6, 

80, 90, 91, 123, 145-6, 148-9, 

151-7 

Police Stations, Agripada 113, 156 

„ „ Bazar Gate 75, 112 

„ „ CoLiba 113, 156 

„ „ Esplanade 75, 80 

157 

„ „ Frere Eoad 157 

„ „ Gamdevi 157 

„ „ Hughes Eoad 157 

„ „ Khetwadi 157 

„ „ Lamington Ed. 157 

„ „ Maharbaudi 75, 80, 

81, 156 

}, „ Mahim 157 

„ „ ModyBay 156 

» }f Nagpada 113, 136, 

156, 175 

n » Paidhoni 75, 112 

n ,; Palton Eoad 157 

II » Parel 157 

i> >i Princess Street 113, 

166 

It „ Sussex Eoad 136 

n H Wodehoqse 

Eoad 136 



Police work, growth of 60, 61, 65, 

66, 96, 108, 110, 121, 

165, 166 

„ „ miscellaneous 154, 

162, 163 

„ „ during War 187-92 

Port Trust 59, 126 

Powell, Dr. A. 136 

Presidency Magistrates 57, 70, 80«, 

81«, 83, 101, 

102, 132 

M „ Honorary 132 

Presidency Magistrates Act 34, 57, 

70 
Property stolen and recovered, 

value of 42, 89, 92, 127, 166 

Prostitution 61, 85-9, 93, 94, 115, 

116, 117, 118, 131 

Punishments and penalties 29, 30 

E 

Eamchandra Dharadhar ... 192 
Eamchandra, Subehdar ... 133 

Eamoshis ... 99, 111, 125 

Bangari moholla 138, 182, 185 

and App. 
Eeceivers of stolen property 21, 89 
Eecorder's Court 21, 23, 28, 33 

Eegulation I of 1812 25, 28 

» „ „ 1834 33,34 

Eeinold, Mr. 120 

Eevolutionary movement, 

Indian 104, 106, 121, 146, 148 

Bevolver-practice 162 

Eevolvers, theft of 159 

Eiots, Hindu-Muhammadan 62, 
99-103, 104 

» Khoja 36 

„ Moharram 86, 67, 68, 121, 

138-40, 146, 162, 184-6 

and App. 

.» ^arai 68 

„ Parsi-HIndu ... 30, 31 

„ Parsi-Muhammadan 36, 37, 

68,69 



222 



INDEX 



Riots Plague • 103-4 

„ Tilak 121, 123, 140-5, 146 
Rivett, L. C. C 35 

Roshan All, Khan Saheb 73, 97 

Roughton, Major ... ... 101 

Royal Visits 73, 74, 89, 121, 146, 
177-180 

Ryley, Colonel 101 



s 



Safedgali, see Cursetji Suklaji 

Street 
Sanders-Slater, J. ... 96«, 132 
School, Constables' ... 157-8 

Seditious books case 169 

Setalwad, Rao Bahadur C. H. 186, 
193 and App. 

Sethna,R. D 174 

Share Mania 173 

Sheehy, Inspector 91 

Sheikh Ibrahim, Khan Bahadur 97, 
133 and App. 

SheriflE 6 

Shortt, Brig.-General ... 46, 49 

Shortt, Capt 35 

Shortland, Colonel 101 

Sitaram K. Bole 189 

Sloane, Superintendent 110, 129, 
134, 150 

Snow, J. ... ••• ... 28 
Sonari toli 92 

Souter, Sir Frank 54-78, 79, 86, 192 
Souter, W. L.B. ... 120,124 
Special Magistrates 101, 142, 143 

Spens, A. 35,37 

Street Accidents ... 94, 160 

Street Lighting 32, 76 

Strikes, industrial 85, 99, 107, 121 
Strike, Police ... 121, 124, 125 

Strike, Postal 121 

Suiehdarg (pi militia) 1, 4 

Sub-Inspectors, Indian ... 156 

Sulleman Cassum Haji Mitha, 

Sirdar Saheb 186 



Sulliman chauU 102, 182, 186 

" Superintendent of Police" 12, 17, 

20, 23, 35 

II „ „ powers 

of 20, 21, 22, 24 

Superintendents of Police, 

European 73, 96, 131 
Superintendent-General of 

Police 24, 26, 33 
Supreme Court... 28 and n, 33 

Swann, General John 185 and App, 
Sweeney, Superintendent ... 96 



Taki, Khan Saheb F. M. 165, 168 
„ „ „ M.H. ... 168 

Talcherkar, H. A 189 

Tatya Lakshman, Rao Saheb 96-7 

T^ji-mutidi 84 

Temple, Sir Richard .. 74, 77 

Textile Industry 107 

Theatres, licensing of ... 159, 160 
„ rules for ... 159, 160 

Thornton, T 36, 37 

Tilak, Bal Gangadhar 104, 105, 106, 

121, 140-2, 143, 145 

Tod, James 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 

16,23 

Traffic in Women and Children 88, 

165 
Traffic-regulation 94, 95, 130, 131 
Tyebali Alibhai ... 128, 170 



Uniform ( of constables ) ... 34 
„ (of European police ) 127 



Vereadores 6, 7 

Viceregal Visits 73, 146, 176 

Vinayakrao Dinanath ... 192 

Vincent, F. A. M. H. 137, 150, 163, 
186 and App. 
Vincent, R. H. 62, 73, 80, 90-106, 

107 



INDEX 



223 



Warden, F. ... 

Warden, J 

War Belief Fund 
Webb, Mr. 

Wedderburn, General D 
Weights and Measures... 
Weir, Dr. T 



17, 20, 23, 24 
35 
192 
102 
7,9 
61 
102 



West, Sir E 28 

Williamson, Superintendent ... 134 
Willingdon, Lord ... 192, 194 

Willis, H 35 

Wilson, G. S 150 

Wilson, Lieut.-Col. W. H. 79-89, 112 

Wise, Colonel 79 

Wodehouse, Sir P. ... 69, 70 
Wybome,SirJ. 3 



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